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CIA acknowledges secret Area 51

LAS VEGAS — UFO buffs are celebrating the CIA’s clearest acknowledgment yet of the existence of Area 51, the top-secret Cold War test site that has been the subject of elaborate conspiracy theories for decades.

The recently declassified documents have created a buzz online, though there’s no mention in the papers of UFO crashes, extraterrestrials, or staged moon landings.

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‘‘I’m thinking that they’re probably testing the waters now to see how mad people get about the big lie and coverup,’’ said Audrey Hewins, a Maine woman who runs a support group for people who believe they have been contacted by extraterrestrials.

The CIA history released Thursday not only refers to Area 51 by name and describes some of the activities that took place there, but places the Air Force base on a map.

George Washington University’s National Security Archive used a public records request to obtain the CIA history of one of Area 51’s projects, the U-2 spy plane.

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