America's Book of Secrets (2012) s01e05 Episode Script

Area 51

NARRATOR: It is one of the most covert military bases on American soil, protecting the nation's most confidential research and development.
BARNES: You didn't have a need to know, and you just didn't ask.
NARRATOR: But could Area 51 also be holding secrets? Secrets so incredible STEPHEN BASSETT: Congress hasn't the slightest idea what's going on in these facilities, and couldn't get in if they wanted to.
NARRATOR: so shocking BILL BIRNES: At least some of the material from the Roswell crash went to the area known as Area 51.
NARRATOR: so terrifying GEORGE KNAPP: Inside each hangar was a flying saucer.
NARRATOR: that they must be kept hidden from the public? JIM MARRS: If indeed they have alien bodies or, whoa, live aliens, then that secret is world-shaking.
NARRATOR: There are those who believe in the existence of a book, a book that contains the most highly guarded secrets of the United States of America a book whose very existence is known to only a select few.
But if such a book exists, what would it contain? Secret histories? Secret plans? Secret lies? Does there really exist America's Book of Secrets? Just 83 miles north from the bright lights of Las Vegas, in the middle of the Nevada high desert, lies the most well-known secret location in America: Area 51.
KNAPP: Area 51 is sort of the citadel of secrecy.
It's the Mount Olympus of secrecy.
It is the location of choice for more than 55 years for our government's deepest, darkest secrets, our blackest projects.
MARRS: Popular Mechanics once styled it as the place where the U.
government goes to be alone.
It's the one place in the United States, in this land of freedom and democracy, that nobody can go to.
NARRATOR: Strange lights in the night sky unidentified flying objects and the impenetrable security surrounding the mysterious facility have helped fuel speculation and curiosity about what really goes on at Area 51.
For decades, the military base has been shrouded with dark and sinister conspiracy theories.
But is there any truth to the fantastic tales told by so many over the years about Area 51? Or might there be an extravagant government cover-up to obscure the real and highly classified activities of the base? Is the truth about the activities at Area 51 even stranger than fiction? Officials insist the secrecy surrounding sites like Area 51 is essential for national security, and the covert technology created and tested there has saved countless American lives.
KNAPP: You need places like Area 51.
It's a place to test our most secret stuff.
And I think that it is no exaggeration to say the Cold War was won at Area 51.
BIRNES: It's an area of the Nevada desert that, during World War II, was just a gunnery range.
Lockheed needed a place with long, long runways for the development of the U-2 spy plane.
And they chose this old gunnery range in Nevada, which then became Nellis Air Force Base, Groom Lake and Papoose Lake.
NARRATOR: The infamous outpost is so top secret, it has been erased from maps since its inception.
RICHARD DOLAN: Back in the 1950s, when this base was first developed, the United States had a lot of secret agencies that the rest of the world didn't know anything about.
STEVEN GREER: Ironically, there were Soviet-era satellite images of the facility with operations going on there, and yet on our own satellites, it would all be digitized out.
So the Soviet Union knew that we had super-secret programs there, but we were still denying it to our own citizens that such a facility existed at all.
NARRATOR: After 60 years of secret operation, in July of 2003, the U.
government publicly confirmed the existence of the military base.
Today, Area 51 is officially described simply as an operating location for the development and testing of experimental aircraft and weapons systems.
Called The Box, there is a strictly enforced no-fly zone above the base.
Some claim that The Box is the nexus of a so-called Nevada Triangle, where thousands of planes have mysteriously crashed and disappeared.
GREER: Area 51 is a highly classified airspace and base.
I mean, this is the size of some small states.
The airspace that they control is a huge area of classified airspace, and that means that commercial aircraft are routed around that area.
You cannot just fly in there and look at what's going on.
PETER MERLIN: Area 51 is ideal for conducting secret projects.
It lies in a deep valley surrounded by mountains, so it's not easily observed from the outside.
It sits in the middle of a 625-square-mile block of restricted airspace where they conduct mock combat exercises, including air-to-air combat, bombing and gunnery practice.
In addition, Area 51's located right next to the Nevada Test Site, where nearly a thousand nuclear weapons were tested, both above and below ground.
So it's a very remote and forbidding place.
NARRATOR: A sophisticated high-tech security system surrounds the massive base, ensuring that intruders will not penetrate the perimeter.
Guards, known as Cammo Dudes, are authorized to use deadly force, when necessary, to stop any and all trespassers.
Some believe the security even stretches to public roads, where surveillance censors may be hidden.
DOLAN: There are electronic sensors that are placed along the ground.
There are censors, we're told, that can detect your heat signature.
That's helpful at the daytime, but it's especially helpful at night, if you try to sneak in.
BIRNES: There are very sophisticated microphones, and they're actually hidden in the bushes.
There are very sophisticated motion sensors small cameras that are mounted around.
There are also snipers working at Area 51, and these snipers come from Delta Force.
Delta Force snipers are the best snipers in the entire world.
These are kill machines.
NARRATOR: In June 1997, an article in Popular Mechanics magazine claimed that Area 51 had been closed down and abandoned.
But many believe the top-secret work continues and, in fact, has expanded in recent years.
Over the past decade, satellite images have revealed new runways, hangars, buildings and radar facilities.
And every day, secret so-called "Janet flights" carry workers from Las Vegas directly in and out of Area 51.
MICHAEL SCHRATT: They have an EG & G terminal at McCarran that takes you to the test site, and you fly in a white 737, unmarked, with a red strip down each of the fuselage sides.
It's the gateway to Area 51.
You cannot drive your car to Area 51, but you can take their designated bus.
There's no such thing as commuting personally to Area 51.
It doesn't exist.
NARRATOR: Before stepping foot on the base, employees and their families undergo an intense background check to ensure they will maintain complete secrecy.
But perhaps the most secure aspect of the base is the fact that even the workers don't really know what goes on there.
THORNTON BARNES: Even though I was allowed in there, there was things I wasn't allowed to see.
We did not talk to each other in that sense.
You never asked, "Just what do you do?" 'Cause once we got there, we went our separate ways and did our jobs.
You didn't have a need to know, and you just didn't ask.
MERLIN: Workers at the base typically have a top secret clearance, but access within each project is strictly compartmentalized.
It's on a need-to-know basis.
SCHRATT: It is a base of compartmentalized strangers.
When classified Northrop aircraft is tested at Area 51, people who work in the Lockheed skunk works laboratory are told to bring the shades down and never to look out the window, as the other aircraft is taxiing by, so you can see how one doesn't even know what the other is doing.
NARRATOR: The veil of secrecy that surrounds Area 51 has fueled the conspiracy theories about what goes on there.
Claims range from the testing of chemical and biological warfare weapons to time-travel machines and even alien technology.
DOLAN: Area 51 didn't become known because we tested our secret aircraft there, it became known because people made the claim that there was this place called Area 51 where we tested flying saucers.
GREER: Stories began to leak out of that facility of people who had seen unusual things going on there, related to so-called reverse engineering of extraterrestrial vehicles and to new research and to our aerospace programs.
NARRATOR: Could the secret research and development at Area 51 include extraterrestrial technology? If so, just what, or perhaps who, is being hidden at Area 51? Coming up GREER: There's a lot of evidence that we did we retrieve an extraterrestrial vehicle there.
NICK REDFERN: The craft looked unusual.
It was almost like they'd come out of a mold.
KNAPP: Inside each hangar was a flying saucer.
NARRATOR: February, 1980.
Air Force Major Jesse Marcel made headlines across the country after giving a controversial interview about his eyewitness account of the infamous Roswell incident.
(whooshing) (explosion thundering) Marcel claimed the military covered up the recovery of alien spaceships that crashed near Roswell, New Mexico, on July 8, 1947.
Many speculate that the material recovered from the crash was taken to Area 51.
GREER: The story broke and then it got carried around the world.
It sort of opened Pandora's box.
MARRS: 500 people are now in the public record that said I was there, and there's alien bodies, and they recovered a crashed flying saucer exactly as the original press release from the Roswell Army Airfield stated.
KNAPP: If you were to recover something like a downed flying saucer, where would you take it? You'd take it to Area 51.
It is the location of choice for testing and developing black projects.
It's the place where you know you can keep a secret.
NARRATOR: November, 1989.
In a sensational interview with investigative reporter George Knapp, physicist Bob Lazar reveals shocking details about his work in Area 51.
KNAPP: We did a live interview with Bob.
We blacked out his face.
He used a pseudonym, Dennis, which was actually a first name of the guy he said was his boss at Area 51.
NARRATOR: Having worked at the base from 1988 to 1989, Lazar claimed to have seen nine mysterious discs in an area of the facility called Sector Four or S4.
KNAPP: And he told this incredible story.
He said that he had been hired by the U.
Navy to work at a place called S4, south of Area 51 on the Papoose dry lake bed.
That a facility had been built into the mountains, a series of hangars, and inside each of these hangars-- which were designed to look like the desert-- inside each hangar was a flying saucer.
REDFERN: Lazar said the craft looked unusual in the sense there were nor rivets or bolts or anything like that that you would see on a regular aircraft.
It was almost like they'd come out of a mold.
They just seemed to be like a melted and, you know, sealed, solid, solidified device where you couldn't really see how they'd been put together.
KNAPP: He said that the, uh, the craft were powered by an antimatter reactor, that the fuel was something called element 115.
He says at one point he saw one being test-flown over the dry lake bed; that it, uh, it glowed blue and floated as if by magic.
BIRNES: After that story began to circulate, was in the news, Area 51 became a Mecca for UFO enthusiasts.
(camera shutter clicking) 'Cause part of what was going on was that Bob Lazar said that he knew when UFOs were flying over the Nevada desert, and so folks came from all over the United States and all over the world, descending upon Area 51, looking for UFOs.
(camera shutter clicking) MERLI For a while, there were tourists on the hilltops pretty much hours a day, seven days a week.
And so the Air Force seized an additional 5,000 acres of public land to take away these hilltops.
NARRATOR: In 2004, biologist Dan Burisch corroborated the sensational claims of Bob Lazar.
As a scientist who had also worked at Sector Four,urisch said the super-secret facility housed not only nine extraterrestrial vehicles, but also an alien being.
DOLAN: Now, what he has claimed is that he's a microbiologist who has done work inside the Groom Lake facility, dealing with alien biology; ET biology.
He's claimed, furthermore, that he was selected for his work because he was able to have telepathic connection with the primary being he dealt with, which he called J-Rod.
BIRNES: And J-Rod was kept in a kind of quasi-captivity, working with a select group of Americans-- scientists, but also part of a civilian and government community.
MARRS: If indeed they are retro-engineering UFOs, and particularly if they have alien bodies or, whoa, live aliens, then that is a secret that is world-shaking.
NARRATOR: Had Lazar and Burisch actually witnessed extraterrestrial technology at Sector Four? And if so, was there aink to the mysterious crash at Roswell in 1947? In response to the extraterrestrial claims, the Air Force released an official report in 1994 stating the debris found and recovered at Roswell came from a top seet experiment called Project Mogul.
The report claimed that accounts of alien aircraft were simply misidentified crashed military balloons that were used to detect radiation in the upper atmosphere.
DOLAN: And so what the Air Force said is that the materials at were recovered and that you can see in the famous photograph of Jesse Marcel holding the balloon, material, whatever-- th said, "This is clearly the Mogul balloon apparatus.
" NARRATOR: Just a few years later in 1997, the Air Force issued another report, explaining that the alleged alien bodies were, in fact, dummies attached to parachutes as part of the high-altitude experiment.
REDFERN: So, in other words, the Air Force has presented four theories, which surely begs the question, there's got to be more going on if you consistently have to keep changing your story.
GREER: There have been a lot of explanations, none of which make sense, and there's a lot of evidence that, in fact, we did retrieve an extraterrestrial vehicle there.
MERLIN: Many of these conspiracy theories and UFO sightings probably help to hide the operations of the cret base, because if people see something strange and report it as a UFO, they'rnot taken seriously.
It acts as a perfect cover story.
While people are distracted with theories of extraterrestrials and alien spaceships, the government is actually accomplishing a great deal of work with real down-to-earth hardware.
NARRATOR: Was the so-called alien spaceship really just a high-altitude balloon designed to detect radiation from Soviet nuclear tests? Or are the government reports a smoke screen for an even bigger secret, one concerning covert military operations at Area 51? Coming up REDFERN: Area 51 has focused upon test flying of highly-advanced, radical aircraft.
KNAPP: The men and women who who toiled in obscurity out there protected our security and won the Cold War.
NARRATOR: Groom Lake, Nevada.
Scoring the floor of the salt flat is what has become known as one of the longest airstrips in the world, measuring more than four miles from end to end.
And if there were an American Book of Secrets, it would most likely contain information about hundreds of military aircraft tested on the runways at REDFERN: There's absolutely no doubt, if we look back into the history of what we can verify has gone on at Area 51 since the early 1950s, much of it has focused upon the design and deployment and test flying of highly-advanced radical aircraft.
NARRATOR: In recently declassified documents, the U.
Air Force revealed that they had used the Groom Lake Site for a variety of classified activities.
Many believe that this is an admission that the government used Area 51 to conduct top secret tests on the U-2 spy plane.
First taking flight on August 1, 1955, it was capable of soaring as high as 70,000 feet, beyond the reach of Soviet technology.
It also had groundbreaking cameras and optics designed to take invaluable pictures of facilities, weapons and technology being developed by the enemy during the Cold War.
SCHRATT: The U-2 spy plane was a special aircraft, because it was very lightweight, had very high-altitude capability, and very long range, and nothing could shoot it down for years.
They were very successful.
Then finally, they were shot down, so that's the reason why they had to go to the next one, which was at least three times to four times faster and much higher capability.
NARRATOR: Seven years after creating and launching the U-2 at Area 51, Lockheed began testing their next reconnaissance aircraft at the base in April, 1962.
Top secret and referred to only by its codename "Oxcart" for more than 40 years, program details only became available in THORNTON "T.
" BARNES: We flew 2,850 missions out of Groom Lake with the A-12 which flies faster than a bullet and up to 90,000 feet.
And it's just the perfect place that we could fly in and out, and no one should be able to see us.
It was the first Mach-3 spy plane, and everything had to be invented about it.
MERLIN: Stealth technology was essentially developed at Area 51.
The beginnings took place during the Oxcart Program.
But in the 1970s, this was expanded.
A project called Have Blue developed two technology demonstrators.
They were faceted like diamonds, very unaerodynamic shape, but very resistant to being tracked by radar.
This led to the development of the F-117A stealth fighter, which was highly successful during Operation Desert Storm, able to fly through Iraqi air defenses, which were heavily defended, without being hit once.
NARRATOR: Many also believe that Area 51 is home to the top secret research of various unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.
BARNES: We tested the first UAVs in the '60s.
We had what we called the D-21, and it was a drone that we were designing to fly over China.
That's who was needing to spy on at the moment, at that time.
And we would launch it off of a modified A-12.
In other words, we'd launch it at 90,000 feet at Mach 3.
And it was a stealth, just like the mother ship.
And then it would take its photographs, and then it'd drop them off at sea.
And then it would disintegrate itself.
NARRATOR: In September, 1995, President Bill Clinton issued a presidential determination, exempting Area 51 from environmental disclosure laws.
The order came following a lawsuit filed by former Area 51 workers who alleged they had become ill after being exposed KNAPP: Nothing could leave Area 51.
Not a computer, not a piece of trash, nothing.
Everything had to be destroyed there.
So, they would dig these great big trenches, throw all this stuff in the trench, douse it with jet fuel, and set it on fire.
And these gigantic clouds of toxic muck would float over the base.
Everybody who worked out there breathed this stuff.
NARRATOR: The lawsuit was dismissed, based on the grounds that further investigation would breach national security.
Exactly what was destroyed at Area 51 will remain a mystery.
But one secret has been confirmed.
Reverse engineering has been going on at Area 51 since the 1950s.
The research was based on foreign technology, but not from out of this world.
BARNES: We did reverse engineer the Soviet MIGs.
We got our hands on the MIGs.
We needed to know why they were whacking us bad in Vietnam.
The kill ratio was nine to one against us.
We didn't know why, so we went through a technical phase where we tore them down to see what made them work, whatever they got-- radios, missiles, ejection seats-- everything about them.
And then we went into the tactical phase where we actually flew them against our planes to see, compare the maneuverability and the, um figure out what they could do that we couldn't.
KNAPP: The men and women who toiled in obscurity out there, for so many years, who did all this work, made so many sacrifices, protected our security and won the Cold War.
(explosion thunders) NARRATOR: Coming up DOLAN: This thing goes down deep, like, ten, 20 floors down.
SCHRATT: One of those shafts-- that you could put two B-52s side by side and still have six feet on either wing tip.
NARRATOR: The 625 square miles of restricted skies above Area 51 is the most highly guarded airspace in the world.
But with modern satellite technology, getting a bird's-eye view of Area 51 has become as easy as the click of a mouse.
With hangars and runways now clearly seen in satellite photos, is it possible a secret operation exists below the desert surface? MARRS: As I understand it, Area 51 is built like an upside-down ice cream cone.
You see a little bit at the very top, including runways.
But then you go down, and it spreads out.
And what goes on down there, who knows? DOLAN: All of the accounts from individuals who've spoken to journalists about Area 51, all of them have said this thing goes down deep.
You hear things like ten, 20 floors down.
NARRATOR: Could there be secret underground facilities 20 floors below Area 51? And if so, why did they go so deep? BIRNES: As the base was being developed in the 1950s, Eisenhower negotiated an open skies agreement with the Soviet Union.
And under the open skies agreement, we could look at their stuff, they could look at our stuff.
So what we began doing, very early in, was using huge tunneling machines to dig out the earth under Area 51, under the whole desert complex.
NARRATOR: Some researchers claim Area 51 is the central hub of a vast underground network connected to other top secret facilities across the country, allowing materials and technology to be transported through a subterranean government complex by high-speed maglev trains traveling at up to Mach 2 speed.
ALEX JONES: There are hundreds and hundreds of admitted bases that are completely secret.
Area 51 is the tip of the iceberg.
It's one of the most popularized sites that is secret, and it basically operates as a cover for all the other sites.
The investigators all flock there, when there's other secret sites all around it that have things that are even more secret.
GREER: You can go underground at Edwards Air Force Base in the high desert of California and very quickly get transported underground to the Nellis Area 51 facility.
SCHRATT: I interviewed a gentleman who worked for General Electric.
He said that there were four connecting shafts that connected to the shaft that he was on, and he said that one of those shafts was twice as big as the shaft that he was in.
And he said that you could put two B-52s side by side and still have six feet on either wing tip.
NARRATOR: What might these huge and wide shafts have been designed to accommodate? And what could they be transporting? Is it possible that they were built to move around some sort of extraterrestrial technology? Though there is little physical evidence to prove such a vast tunnel complex exists, former Area 51 specialist T.
Barnes claims a large underground testing facility can be found near the Nevada Test Site.
According to Barnes, the secret subterranean installation was used from 1952 to 1972 to test nuclear rockets developed under a program called Project NERVA.
BARNES: The NERVA project was, uh, primarily a NASA project.
But we were developing a nuclear rocket engine to go to Mars.
That's just one of the places.
You get the stories that we worked underground at Jackass Flats.
We did, we went underground.
We had the engines test stems up above us with a nuclear rocket shooting a plume up into the air, and it's, you know, nose down.
And we were underground 'cause it was so radioactive.
(Geiger counter clicking) NARRATOR: This knowledge has led some to speculate that alien doomsday weapons, high-tech lasers and even teleportation devices have also been tested and developed underground at Area 51, through reverse engineering.
MARRS: Up until about 1950, human knowledge and technology advanced every 20 or 30 years.
But since 1950, it has exploded.
Fiber optics, LEDs, computer technology, night vision Well, where did all that come from? Are we really so smart that we can advance technology in about a ten-year period or did we find it from somewhere else? REDFERN: One of the areas that the Air Force has looked into is actually trying to find ways to modify the weather.
And in sort of stark and simple terms, the idea you can provoke earthquakes.
You could create tsunamis.
You could actually insure that certain parts of the world didn't get rain anymore, provoke drought.
BIRNES: What about the ultimate? What about time travel? Imagine a weapon so powerful that you could send military units back into the past to alter history.
It's the ultimate doomsday weapon.
NARRATOR: But is there any proof to the controversial claims of secret projects based on reverse engineering of extraterrestrial technology? In 1984, documents emerged from the National Archives describing a top secret group called the Majestic 12, formed by President Truman in September 1947, in the wake of the Roswell incident.
The papers describe the secret committee as 12 scientists, military leaders and government officials ordered to investigate UFO activity.
Some speculate the Majestic 12 may have been based at Area 51.
DOLAN: They become known as the MJ-12 documents or the Majestic 12 documents.
They all discuss, in detail, various elements of ET, UFO reality from a very deeply classified level.
MARRS: And it was all created after the National Security Act of 1947, which was apparently rushed into law just months after the Roswell incident.
NARRATOR: After months of investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation confiscated the documents and declared the Majestic 12 were completely bogus.
But when the papers were released back to the public, they were heavily redacted.
Why? What were they hiding? DOLAN: Some of the UFO documents that were yanked out of the intelligence community were just completely blacked out.
It's like almost nothing there, or in some cases whited out when they realized that the black looked pretty ominous.
So you got a phenomenon that's top secret and yet you're not seeing any of the top secret documents pertaining to it.
So we've got a problem there.
NARRATOR: Are the Majestic 12 documents released in 1984 a smoking gun? Could they prove that the government was and still is actively engaged in reverse engineering alien technology at and possibly under Area 51? And, if the UFO claims are baseless, why is the military base cloaked in secrecy? PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: If the United States Air Force did recover alien bodies, they didn't tell me about it either, and I want to know.
NARRATOR: Perhaps the most shocking secrets covered up at Area 51 aren't from out of this world but instead, firmly planted on Earth.
Coming up MERLIN: The thing that crashed at Roswell was not an alien spacecraft but was in fact something from the Soviet Union that was flown over here and then crashed intentionally to create a War of the Worlds type panic in the U.
CONTROLLER: Five, four, three, two, one, zero.
NARRATOR: July 20, 1969.
The crowning achievement in America's epic space race with the Soviet Union.
American astronauts become the first humans to land on the Earth's moon.
Apollo 11's commander Neil Armstrong becomes the first man to walk on the lunar surface.
ARMSTRONG: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.
NARRATOR: Hundreds of millions of people around the world watched in amazement as this milestone of human engineering was broadcast on live television.
But not all who witnessed the event were convinced of its authenticity.
In fact, some believe that the historic moon landing and the many that followed were all a sophisticated hoax filmed at Area 51.
is the reason why people aren't allowed to go to Area 51 is because, if they were to go there and film, like, the sand dunes, the mountains, et cetera, that they would show land identical to what's shown on the moon landing pictures, so people would know, hang on, this is just filmed at the same place, it's not outer space after all.
MARRS: The lights are particularly puzzling because there shows backlighting on the lunar lander and on some of the photographs and yet they didn't take any lighting to the moon.
BIRNES: They were shadows being thrown because of motion picture lights, klieg lights, camera lights being set up in the desert at Area 51 to simulate the lunar landing at night.
NARRATOR: Those who believe that the moon landings were faked point to the American flag as it was supposedly photographed on the lunar surface.
The flag's movement, they say, clearly shows the presence of wind, impossible in a vacuum.
REDFERN: As they're planting it and maneuvering it, it seems to really shake and, and wither in the-- in what people said is the wind.
Now, the moon is a vacuum, which means it has no oxygen, it has no air.
In other words, there's nothing to blow the flag.
MARRS: So why would the U.
government, you know, fake the moon landing? Number one, it was national prestige.
President Kennedy had pledged that we would have a man on the moon by the end of the decade.
That was in the early '60s.
And when did we supposedly land a man on the moon? August of '69.
Just a few short months before his deadline.
KNAPP: I think the reason that the story has evolved around Area 51 is because the astronaut corps did some training here in Nevada, out in the desert 'cause it was so much like the lunar environment that astronauts were here for a time.
There was a connection there.
NARRATOR: Might the U.
government have faked the moon landing at Area 51 in order to fool the Soviets? Or might the secrets being kept at Area 51 be part of a more sinister Cold War cover-up? In 2011, a book titled Area 51: An Uncensored History of America's Top Secret Military Base, written by journalist Annie Jacobsen, was released.
In it, she claims Soviet leader Joseph Stalin sent a remotely controlled disc-shaped craft filled with surgically altered children into the United States, crashing at Roswell in 1947.
MERLIN: An anonymous source, who has since been identified as an EG & G engineer, who worked out at the Nevada test site, had this wild claim that the thing that crashed at Roswell was not an alien spacecraft but was, in fact, something from the Soviet Union, an aircraft with advanced hovering capabilities, that was flown over here and then crashed intentionally to create a War of the Worlds type panic in the U.
REDFERN: Joseph Stalin, Soviet premier, really wanted to frighten the U.
public and government, and so the plan was to biologically alter a number of Russian children, and that this would be done by a notorious Nazi scientist named Josef Mengele.
To sort of fake an alien invasion, these weird-looking kids would get out and the belief would be, "Oh, my God, America has just been invaded by aliens," that it would sort of possibly disrupt the Earth's infrastructure, which might allow Russia to launch a sneak attack or, you know, take advantage of the situation.
NARRATOR: Though many dispute Jacobsen's claim, could outrageous tales of what might go on at Area 51 be strategic ploys to conceal what's really going on at the top secret facility? BIRNES: There were no deformed children at Roswell in 1947.
That was disinformation to cover up the fact that there were actually aliens in the craft that crashed at Roswell.
MARRS: The easiest way of keeping a secret is obfuscation.
You just cover it all over with layer after layer of story, counterstory, claim, counterclaim, one theory after another theory, and then everybody gets so confused and arguing over all the various theories.
That's keeping a secret.
NARRATOR: How will we ever know if any of the stories that come out of Area 51 are true? Could there be an intricate mythology created to cover up the truth? Even so, not everything developed at Area 51 has remained under wraps.
Perhaps by looking at what we do know, we can gain more insight DOLAN: I do believe that the truth is going to come out.
It's going to come out.
You can't hide it forever, and incidentally, as a society, we're just moving way too fast.
We're on a trajectory that is going to take us, like it or not, into that very, very blinding light of the truth.
NARRATOR: Have the UFO stories and conspiracy theories surrounding Area 51 simply been a smoke screen to protect actual clandestine military projects? Or is the truth about Area 51 really stranger than fiction? Will we ever know what the government is hiding at Area 51, or will we continue to be in the dark? A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS