Conspiracy theorists, start your engines: Area 51 has finally, officially been acknowledged by the CIA.
Don’t start crying out, “We’re not alone!” just yet though — while newly released CIA documents officially acknowledge the site, the area’s purpose is not what most conspiracy theorists have long argued.
According to the newly released reports, which include a map of the base’s location in Nevada, Area 51 was a testing site for the U.S. government’s U-2 and OXCART aerial surveillance programs (which conducted surveillance around the world), CNN reports. Nowhere in the reports are any alien life forces mentioned, nor any encounters with little green men.
So why did the CIA publicly acknowledge Area 51’s existence after all these years? The map and documents were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in 2005 by Jeffrey T. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archives, as part of his study of aerial surveillance programs.