TODAY

TODAY   |  August 16, 2013

It’s real! US confirms Area 51’s existence

Conspiracy theorists rejoice! The U.S. has finally declassified the existence of Area 51,  but  if you thought it was holding alien space ships, you may be disappointed. NBC’s Mara Schiavacampo reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> meantime, new information this morning about area 51 . you know it. long thought to be a secret government site in nevada's desert. as it turns out, the conspiracy theorists were right. sort of.

>> they're vindicating this morning. good morning, guys. for the first time, the u.s. government confirmed the existence of area 51 . but while they're acknowledging it and it's location, they make no mention of ufos or spaceships.

>> reporter: conspiracy theory confirmed. the u.s. government has finally recognized the existence of area-51. according to recently declassified documents obtained by the national security archive at george washington university , the military air base is 125 miles northwest of loas vegas. until now it never officially existed.

>> they're no longer pretending the place doesn't exist. that's the first step to getting a lot more information in the future.

>> reporter: that made the site the frequent subject of conspiracy theories . particularly that it was used to secretly hyde alien spaceships.

>> take me word for it, there's no area-51.

>> that's not entirely accurate.

>> no mention of flying saucers in the documents, but, instead, a different kind of flying. turns out area 51 was created as a test site for the u 2, a spy plane used by the cia during the cold war .

>> they didn't want the soviet union to know about it and so ensure that they wanted a facility where it could be tested away from everyone else.

>> area-51 has seen some out of this world action. apollo astronauts trained there for the moon landing . thornton barnes was forced to keep his work a secret from family and friends for decades.

>> my wife was mad at me when she found out i was working only 85 miles from home. she had no idea where we were and thought we were in some other country.

>>> area-51 is one of the worst kept secrets. the map just released matches one you can find on the internet by googling area-51. so much for classified.

>> well, natalie is depressed they don't have ufos.

>> i'm sure they're doing alien autopsies.