The National Security Archive at George Washington University published a report, "The Secret History of the U-2," on the spy planes that the Central Intelligence Agency relied on during the Cold War.
The Archive obtained declassified documents about the history of the U-2 — which reference Area 51 on numerous occasions — through a Freedom of Information Act request filed in 2005.
The origins of Area 51 are tightly bound up in the history of the U-2, for which the CIA needed a reliable and secret test facility in the U.S.
They found it in Groom Lake on April 12, 1955, according to “The Central Intelligence Agency and Overhead Reconnaissance,” an internal CIA history of the U-2 and OXCART programs written by Gregory W. Pedlow and Donald E. Welzenbach that was declassified in fulfillment of the National Security Archive’s FOIA request.
OXCART was the code name for the program to develop the Lockheed A-12 reconnaissance plane. CONTINUE READING