area 51 sign on fence
Sean Cate
Sean Cate
March 4, 2024 ·  3 min read

CIA Confirms What Area 51 Was Actually Used for

For decades, Area 51 has been a mysterious place, sparking the imagination of conspiracy theorists and UFO enthusiasts alike. Hollywood movies crack jokes about what’s inside the base and there was that one time we almost stormed the place. However, recent CIA releases have shed light on the actual true purpose of the site. Contrary to popular belief, Area 51 was not a hub for extraterrestrial activity but rather was a covert testing ground for advanced US government aerial programs.1

Declassification of Area 51

After years of speculation, the CIA finally acknowledged the existence of Area 51 as a pivotal location for government activities. In 2013, declassified documents provided insight into the base’s operations. This first round of declassification helped simmer ideas of narratives surrounding alien encounters and UFO sightings commonly associated with Area 51.

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Contrary to popular belief, the documents revealed that the site was instrumental in testing revolutionary aerial surveillance programs, including the U-2 and Oxcart projects.2 These programs were designed to develop cutting-edge reconnaissance aircraft capable of operating at extreme altitudes while gathering vital intelligence during the Cold War.

One of the most interesting revelations from the declassified documents is the correlation between U-2 test flights and reported UFO sightings. As the U-2 conducted high-altitude recon missions, it ended up sparking a surge in UFO reports due to its ability to fly at altitudes exceeding 60,000 feet, well beyond the reach of any conventional aircraft at the time. This phenomenon shows the relationship between technological advancement and misconstrued extraterrestrial activity.

The Cold War Context

During the height of the Cold War, surveillance technology played a pivotal role in maintaining national security. The U-2 spy plane was deployed to monitor strategic adversaries such as the Soviet Union, China, and Cuba, and provided invaluable intelligence to US policymakers about each of them. The secretive nature of these operations required the use of remote testing facilities like Area 51 to safeguard sensitive technologies from prying eyes. So it was far better to have the public believe the area was housing extraterrestrials than two risk the truth of what was really going on.

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Despite the CIA’s official disclosure regarding Area 51’s true purpose, speculation and conspiracy theories continue all the same. The allure of alien encounters and government cover-ups remains deeply ingrained in popular culture, fueling an ongoing fascination with the iconic site. The documented history of aerial testing at Area 51 offers a more grounded explanation for the phenomena observed in the vicinity, but we all know that governments aren’t above lying to cover their tracks so why should this be treated any different?

The revelations from the CIA provide a compelling look into the “real” activities conducted at Area 51. Rather than a haven for alien encounters, the site served as a crucial testing ground for advanced aerial programs crucial to national security throughout the Cold War. By addressing the myths and misconceptions of Area 51, these disclosures can offer a reminder of the complex reality behind one of the world’s most infamous military sites.

Area 51 may no longer be cloaked in secrecy, but its legacy as a symbol of intrigue and speculation is likely to endure for years to come.

Read More: Seventeen “Conspiracy Theories” That Turned Out To Be Completely True


  1. CIA finally confirms what Area 51 is actually used for.” Unilad. Kit Roberts. February 21, 2024.
  2. CIA confirmed what Area 51 is actually used for.” Super Car Blondie. Amelia Jean Hershman-Jones. February 20, 2024.