To make sure you never miss out on your favourite NEW stories, we're happy to send you some reminders

Click 'OK' then 'Allow' to enable notifications

Former CIA Specialist Exposes Details About Area 51

Former CIA Specialist Exposes Details About Area 51

Thornton D. Barnes worked for years at the base before deciding to expose its secrets.

A former CIA specialist who worked on special projects at Area 51 has offered an insight to his time at the mysterious air force facility.

Thornton D. 'T.D.' Barnes worked for years at the mysterious base after joining the Special Projects Team for the Central Intelligence Agency in 1968, with his friends and family long being kept in the dark about exactly what he got up to on the job.

However, Barnes later went on to become the head of the Roadrunners; a group of former Area 51 employees who went public more than a decade ago to talk about the work they undertook at the base.

Area 51 base (Alamy)
Area 51 base (Alamy)

Speaking to 8 News Now, Barnes expressed belief that Area 51 'was never secret'; that people 'knew the existence of it', but were just less familiar with 'who was out there and what they were doing'.

Barnes has done a lot in the way of attempting to shine a light on the inner workings of Area 51, encouraging the CIA to declassify photos and documents about the base and writing a new, definitive history all about it.

The former specialist has even claimed that Area 51 was not the real name for the site as he titled his project after its apparent original name, 'Station D'.

"They had all kinds of documents in there that identified it as station D," Barnes said, though he said claimed that when he went back to CIA historians to get more documents, they allegedly claimed to have 'never heard' of station D.

Station D is not the only name, nickname or codename used to refer to the base, according to Barnes, and he outlines the array of alternative names in his book.

Road by Area 51 (Alamy)
Road by Area 51 (Alamy)

The CIA first chose the base in 1955 as a spot to secretly test and fly the highly classified U-2 spy plane, at which time employees are said to have referred to it as 'Watertown' or the 'Watertown Strip' in reference to the hometown of the CIA director at the time, Allen Dulles.

It began to be referred to as Area 51 in 1958, but in the 60s it began to disappear from maps, with the military pretending the base wasn't there at all.

Another name for the site is 'Paradise Ranch', used by aerospace and defence company Lockheed Martin as a cruel joke to those working in the desert. Making clear this wasn't a very well-chosen name, Barnes said: "It was anything but paradise."

The US Air Force took control of Area 51 in the 1970s, after which Barnes said that 'word got out that something was going on at Area 51 and the CIA was involved for 20 years'. As a result, the 'UFO phase started' - with conspiracies about the base still floating around to this day.

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]  

Featured Image Credit: @ThorntonDBarnes/Twitter/Alamy