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not aliens--just some wireless sensors

[via Slashdot] Area 51 'hackers' dig up trouble. Quote:

[...] it turns out the truth really was out there, and the government didn't appreciate Clark digging it up.

Clark didn't find the Roswell craft or an alien autopsy room -- in fact, while officially shrouded in secrecy, the 50-year-old base is generally believed to be dedicated to the terrestrial mission of testing classified aircraft. "The U2 spy plane, the SR-71, the F-117A stealth fighter, all were flight-tested out of the Groom Lake facility," says Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Project on Government Secrecy. The myth of Area 51 memorialized in films, T.V. shows and novels is a function of the secrecy that surrounds it. "It is a concrete manifestation of official secrecy at its most intense, and that invites a mixture of paranoia and speculative fantasy that has become ingrained in popular culture," says Aftergood.

Even without aliens, the facility has its secrets, and last year while roaming the desert outside the Groom Lake base Clark stumbled upon one of them: an electronic device packed in a rugged case and buried in the dirt. Marked "U.S. Government Property," the device turned out to be a wireless transmitter, connected by an underground cable to a sensor buried nearby next to one of the unpaved roads that vein the public land surrounding the base. Together, the units act as a surveillance system, warning someone -- somewhere -- whenever a vehicle drives down that stretch of road.

Makes sense of course. I think similar technology is used around other high-security facilities, like Cheyenne Mountain (NORAD's Operation Center). Speaking of NORAD, recently I read that NORAD is a binational military organization, and its commander is appointed by (and responsible to) both the US President and the Canadian Prime Minister. Although it's the North American Aerospace Defense Command, that surprised me for some reason...

Categories: technology
Posted by diego on May 26 2004 at 4:25 PM

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