The history behind how Area 51 became the center of alien conspiracy theories

Following is a transcript of the video.

In the early 1950s, US planes were conducting low-flying recon missions over the USSR. But there were constant worries of them being spotted and shot down.

So … in 1954, President Eisenhower authorized the development of a top secret, high-altitude recon aircraft dubbed Project Aquatone. The program required a remote location that wasn’t easily accessible to civilians or spies. Area 51 fit the bill perfectly.

It was in the Nevada desert near a salt flat called Groom Lake. No one knows exactly why it’s called Area 51, but one theory suggests it came from its proximity to the Nevada Nuclear Test Sites. The Nevada Test Site was divided into number-designated areas by the Atomic Energy Commission. The location was already familiar territory for the military, as it had served as a World War II aerial gunnery range.

In the summer of 1955, sightings of “unidentified flying objects” were reported around Area 51. That’s because the Air Force had begun its testing of the U-2 aircraft. The U-2 can fly higher than 60,000 feet. At the time, normal airliners were flying in the 10,000 to 20,000 feet range. While military aircraft topped out around 40,000 feet. So if a pilot spotted the tiny speck that was the U-2 high above it, they would have no idea what it was. And they would usually let air traffic control know someone was out there. Which is what led to the increase of UFO sightings in the area. While Air Force officials knew the UFO sightings were U-2 tests, they couldn’t really tell the public. So they explained the aircraft sightings by saying they were “natural phenomena” and “high-altitude weather research.”

The testing of the U-2 ended in the late 1950s; but, Area 51 has continued to serve as the testing ground for many aircraft, including the F-117A, A-12, and TACIT BLUE.

No one knows for sure what Area 51 is up to these days. The government never even publicly acknowledged the existence of the base until 2013, with the release of declassified CIA reports. But if you’re ever at the Las Vegas airport, keep an eye out for some small, unmarked, passenger planes in a fenced-off area. They’re how Area 51 employees get to work from their homes in Vegas.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in July 2017.

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Man shot by FBI after ‘security situation’ just outside CIA headquarters

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The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008.

  • There is a “security situation” at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the CIA confirmed in a statement to NBC News.
  • “Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved,” a spokesperson said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A man attempted to drive into the CIA’s Langley headquarters in McLean, Virginia, and was shot by FBI agents after an armed standoff, according to reports.

According to an NBC News report, the intruder tried to breach a gate that was manned by armed guards and refused to initially leave his vehicle.

A negotiation ensued for hours, and according to an FBI statement, the man emerged from his car carrying a gun and was shot by FBI agents who were manning the checkpoint. No CIA or FBI agents were reported to be injured, and the person was transported to a local hospital.

“The FBI is reviewing an agent-involved shooting that occurred at approximately 6 p.m. on Monday, May 3, 2021,” the FBI said in a statement, according to local WTTG reporter Allison Papson. “An individual involved in a security incident outside Central Intelligence Agency Headquarters in McLean, VA, emerged from his vehicle with a weapon and was engaged by law enforcement officers.”

The FBI is now reviewing the shooting.

NBC News first reported that an unauthorized person attempted to breach a guarded gate. The network also reported that there was a heavy police presence around the headquarters.

“In coordination with our local law enforcement partners, we are addressing a security situation just outside the secure perimeter of CIA Headquarters by our main gate on Route 123,” a CIA spokesperson initially told NBC News. “Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved.”

Local news station WJLA reported that there was a temporary flight restriction around the area.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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CIA says there is a ‘security situation’ just outside headquarters in Langley, Virginia

2016 11 02T120000Z_1793330125_S1BEUKNFWXAA_RTRMADP_3_USA CIA BRENNAN.JPG
The lobby of the CIA Headquarters Building in Langley, Virginia, U.S. on August 14, 2008.

  • There is a “security situation” at the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the CIA confirmed in a statement to NBC News.
  • “Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved,” a spokesperson said.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

There is a “security situation” just outside of CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the CIA confirmed to NBC News, adding that the “compound remains secure.”

“In coordination with our local law enforcement partners, we are addressing a security situation just outside the secure perimeter of CIA Headquarters by our main gate on Route 123,” CIA spokesperson told NBC News. “Our compound remains secured, and our Security Protective Officers working the incident are the only Agency personnel directly involved.”

NBC News first reported that an unauthorized person attempted to breach a guarded gate. The network also reported that there was a heavy police presence around the headquarters.

Local news station WJLA reported that there was a temporary flight restriction around the area and that the CIA is expected to issue a statement on the matter.

This story is developing. Check back for updates.

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US officials fear an NSC official falling sick by the White House is the same ‘Havana syndrome’ that struck in Cuba and China, CNN reports

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The White House viewed from the Ellipse in Washington DC, December 20, 2020.

  • A NSC member’s unusual illness is being looked into as a possible case of “Havana syndrome, CNN reported.
  • The term refers to unexplained symptoms first noticed in the US Embassy in Cuba.
  • Its causes are unclear. Some have suggested they are caused by a new kind of weapon.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A a National Security Council official falling sick yards from the White House is being connected to similar instances that have affected US officials in Cuba and China, according to CNN.

The network reported that the NSC official – who was not named – fell ill in November 2020 on the Ellipse, a large lawn to the south of the White House.

CNN cited unnamed official sources for its report.

It is one of two incidents on US soil that are being looked at as potential cases of “Havana syndrome” – a mysterious set of unexplained symptoms that have suddenly struck US officials in Cuba and China since 2016.

The issue has worried the US government for years, but has usually been reported abroad. Sources told CNN that the fact that two suspected cases have taken place domestically is has worried them.

The second US incident concerned a White House staffer who was walking her dog in Virginia in 2019, when she heard a high-pitched noise in her ears that was followed by an intense headache, according to GQ.

Very little is known for sure about the phenomenon, and investigators are treating these two instances only as suspected cases.

The phenomenon was first reported by a diplomat at the US embassy in Cuba, who heard a loud, piercing sound in one ear that was followed by a loss of balance and nausea, according to a report from the National Academies of Sciences in December.

After this, three CIA officers based in the same embassy building experienced similar sensations. Other symptoms include pain in both ears, dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, and difficulty thinking.

The National Academies of Sciences report found that 40 State Department staff in Cuba and China had experienced similar and lasting symptoms, as Axios reported.

The cause is not agreed on, but the CIA, the State Department and most recently the Pentagon have launched investigations into it, according to CNN.

Lawmakers on the Senate and House Armed Services Committees were briefed on the issue earlier in April, the network said.

There have been multiple explanations offered for the syndrome, including a form of mass psychogenic illness or even – as some researchers have noted – that the piercing sound closely matches that of a cricket.

An early explanation was that it was the impact of some sort of sonic weapon, but the National Academies of Sciences study said in December the most likely explanation was the use of high-frequency microwaves. The report also noted that Russia has conducted significant amounts of research into the technology.

President Donald Trump blasted Cuba in an address in the Rose Garden in 2017, accusing the country of “sonic attacks.” Cuban officials called his accusations “science fiction” in response, Reuters reported.

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Biden administration curtails drone strikes amid major policy review

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A US Air Force MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), carrying a Hellfire missile lands at a secret air base after flying a mission in the Persian Gulf region on January 7, 2016.

There has been a steep drop in reported drone strikes since President Joe Biden took office, as Insider reported last month. Now The New York Times is reporting why: the new administration is conducting a major policy review that began the day it came into power.

The last administration unleashed the CIA and Pentagon, scrapping rules meant to protect innocent men, women, and children from being killed by unmanned aerial vehicles. It also spent its last few weeks in office escalating in Somalia, conducting a half-dozen attacks in the first half of January alone.

There have been no strikes there since January 20, however.

The Times reported that Biden’s National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan imposed strict new controls on the use of drones outside of active war zones, requiring the White House to sign off on any such attack.

The new administration is using the pause to review how the military and its intelligence agencies conduct extrajudicial killings. Among considerations: whether or not restore Obama-era rules that limited drone strikes to targets considered an active threat – not just members of a designated terrorist organization – and only when there is “near certainty” that no women or children will be killed.

That is just the sort of review that critics of US foreign policy hoped for when Insider first reported on the apparent lull in drone strikes.

“If there is a pause in air strikes overall, we hope it’s due to a reassessment of the United States’ strategy and a recognition that past strikes have not succeeded in ending attacks by armed groups, but have instead killed and injured thousands of civilians,” Daphne Eviatar, director of the Security With Human Rights program at Amnesty International, said at the time.

It is extremely unlikely, however, that the Biden administration will stop using drones altogether. It is not even certain that it will return to limits on their use that former President Barack Obama imposed in his second term amid an outcry over civilian deaths in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere.

As The Times reported, the chief concern is rolling back the Trump-era expansion of the rules of engagement, with Biden officials discovering that ostensible safeguards for civilians “were sometimes stronger on paper than in reality.”

That resulted in a record-breaking pace of US airstrikes. For example, according to monitoring groups, the US may have bombed Yemen more often during Donald Trump’s four years in office than under all previous US presidents combined.

“I totally changed the rules of engagement,” the last president boasted.

Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.com

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