Some new Area 51 documents from the Cold War Era have been declassified telling a tale of high-tech ′hide and seek′. Many dated from the 1960s through 70s show the great lengths the CIA and military went through to confound the Soviet Union. The government routinely photographed the Groom Lake facility using assets such as U-2 spy planes, our first spy satellite – the CORONA, and even pictures taken by astronauts on board the old Skylab space station. These photographs aided Area 51 officials to improve camouflage and other means of deception. Other items have also been declassified, such as a cool picture of a row of A-12 ′Oxcart′ spy planes, the forerunners to the SR-71. Some wonder if the photo, taken in 1964, was set-up as a harmless ′beauty shot′ or was it intended to confuse the Soviets?

Area 51 A 12 spyplanes 1

The photos and other documents are now posted at the National Security Archive website. You won′t find much about UFOs or other ′fun′ projects that have been rumored to be carried out at Area 51. But, if you are an aviation buff, or just interested in military history, the new documents and photos declassified are a treat. One of the more interesting stories revealed pertains to the photograph of Area 51 taken by accident from Skylab. In April of 1974, the incident caused something of a bur-ha-hah between the CIA, NASA and the State Department over whether the photo could be classified. The picture was eventually dumped into a large repository of NASA LandSat images which the public had access to, if they could wade through its volume.

The new Area 51 documents from the Cold War which have been declassified may not show any UFOs, but they do provide insight into the culture of secrecy that existed at the Groom Lake facility. Aside from being the base for the CIA spy planes, such as the U-2 and A-12 Oxcart, work was also done on testing a MiG jet fighter obtained from a defecting pilot. A good deal of time, money and effort went into playing ′hide and seek′ with the Soviet Union to conceal the work done at Area 51.