Copyright 1994  THE BERKELEY GROUP



THE BERKELEY GROUP
"ENCOUNTERS"/AREA 51
INTERVIEW WITH: CONGRESSMAN JAMES H. BILBRAY
JULY 5, 1994

Q
I think for some background information before we get 
going, tell us the committees that you're on research 
wise... 

A
I'm on the Armed Services Committee where I serve on the 
research and technology sub-committee, the military 
construction sub-committee and the personnel sub-
committee.  I'm on the a (unintelligible) committee on 
intelligence which is the  committee which has 
jurisdiction over the CIA, the National Security Agency 
and the ah ah FBI's ah you know international task force 
on terrorism and so forth.  We're on we're over every 
aspect of the intelligence agency and the other 
committee that I serve on is small business but doesn't 
really have much to do with what you're coming in here 
to talk to me about today.

Q
So you're in there.

A
In intelligence and armed services that's correct.

Q
Okay.  The area that we're talking about this Area 51 I 
know that ah that's not what you referred to it as.  You 
refer to is as the ah Nevada Test Range or Ranges.

A
Nellis Test, Nellis, Nellis Training Facilities ah the 
it's very clear that you know by the secrecy act we 
cannot refer to any specific area within the classified 
areas that's run by Nellis and the Air Force as to any 
specific name.  Ah you refer to an area as Area 51, we 
can only say that as far as the Na Nellis Training 
Ranges and Testing Ranges ah that there are facilities 
up there. We won't get specific, the military doesn't 
want to get specific, something that's very difficult 
for me ah ah you look at me and say what's at Area 51 
and I have to say I can only talk in general terms about 
the entire area rather than one specific area.  Ah 
everybody knows that there are areas that are referred 
to by the names Area 51, the NTS, there's other areas, 
Tonopah, all the people know about these areas, they 
come and talk to us but we can't acknowledge that they 
exist.  You know they exist, I know you know exist, the 
Russians know it exists but but we can't refer to it.  
It's just part of our ah method of secrecy.  

Q
Let's pursue that a little bit.  Why is it important to 
have that method of secrecy because you just 
acknowledged that we all know it exists, there are 
pictures out there that says it exists that shows it it 
exists, why do we have to keep it secret.

A
Well I think that that the Air Force rationale and the 
Department of Defense rationale is that there are other 
facilities within the United States and within the Na 
Nellis Ranges that are also secret and ah if you start 
spelling out that this area is is called Area 51, this 
is called Tonopah, this is called something else ah by 
definition of you can almost narrow down what's going on 
in what area and I think they would rather just refer to 
it as the Na Nellis Ranges and leave it at that and and 
again that's the admonition that's given to members of 
Congress that are familiar with the with the facilities.

Q
In your experience has there ever been a place that is 
regarded as secret that so much information is out there 
about it.

A
Oh I'm sure that ah you know over the years with the 
with the Soviet satellite systems, with people that have 
climbed to the top of mountain ranges that surround the 
Nellis Ranges and taken pictures that people are widely 
aware that there are facilities and and bases in the 
Nellis ranges that are not disclosed ah.  I whether or 
not there's other areas I I'm sure you have other top 
secret facilities over the years that have top secret 
experiments going on that are well known too in ah in 
Alabama, New Mexico and other areas but whether this is 
the most well know secret base I don't know but it's 
certainly ranks up there in the top five.  

Q
You've been there, in the...

A
I have been to various facilities within the Nellis 
Ranges.

Q
Difficult to get into there even for you.

A
Not for me, not for me.

Q
Just a request and then you go.

A
Yes.

Q
Is it part of the job and you have to go.

A
I have felt as a member of the Armed Services Committee 
and the and the Intelligence Committees that I have to 
know what's going on in my backyard and ah anything that 
I've asked to see ah the military and the Department of 
Energy have made available to me.

Q
Can you tell us anything you've seen in there.

A
No I can not.

Q
Stories that come out of there, things that people say 
they see, the saucers, the round shapes, the lights, the 
people who even have who have said they worked there, 
seen the the alien crafts and all that sort of thing.  
It makes for a great story in realizing you can't tell 
me what you saw there and what you know about the place.

A
I can deny that and and I can tell you right now that I 
have never seen anything that resembles anything that's 
alien.  Ah flying saucers, ah secret underground caverns 
ah that they refer to.  In fact I've seen pictures on 
television of these secret underground caverns, I've 
seen those caverns but there not at these bases, they're 
part of the Nevada Test Site and they're part of the 
atomic energy experiments in ah in detonating nuclear 
facilities and part of the tests that are going on 
periodic so what's happened is a lot of people that are 
trying to say that there's this alien base or these 
alien ah ships up there in these underground caverns, 
they take pictures of what is known as the Nevada Test 
Site and then show those pictures and show these workers 
working up there and then imply because they're so close 
to some of these facilities that those are the same 
thing but I have been and have walked many of these 
facilities if not all ah. Whether or not there's some 
facility out there that I've never seen I can't tell you 
that.  This area is as big as the state of Maryland or 
Virginia ah you know I've been to what what I believe is 
to every critical facility up on the Na Nellis Ranges 
and Nevada Test Site but there are no aliens up there.  
I I'm I I feel strongly about that or any alien space 
ships.  

Q
In seemingly peaceful times and I know there are the 
trouble spots...

A
Uh huh.

Q
But you know the red threat is no longer there, we've 
come to believe.  Is it important to still have places 
like this that are secret, that the government can say 
as matters of national security we can't tell you what's 
going on in there.

A
Oh absolutely, absolutely ah the the world may be less 
safe today then it was just a few years ago.  When we 
had two super powers, each one pretty much ah balanced 
ah with ah thirty thousand or more nuclear weapons aimed 
at each one ah massive military ah machines ah it was 
more or less of a balance ah.  Both sides were logical, 
they negotiated tough but they both controlled a lot of 
the sub-states around them.  Ah the Syrias, the Iraqs, 
ah ah were under tremendous Soviet influence ah.  We 
controlled our sub-states ah today all that influence is 
gone and you have a lot of crazy countries out there 
like the North Koreas, ah like the Iraqs, like the Irans 
that ah are capable of causing tremendous harm and and 
ah destruction and we still develop technology, we still 
work on ah projects that will handle this sort of 
threat. You also cannot totally disregard a rearming and 
nationalism in Russia.  Now we by our intelligence 
estimates we have you know four to five to six years ah 
ah probably advance warning of this sort of thing taking 
place but what happens if ah the crazy right wingers 
like happen in Germany in 1933 take over Russia.  A 
bigger super power than Germany with more man power, 
more natural resources and a fanatical people that could 
come on very, very strong in history the Russians have 
been known to ah as the most fanatical fighters in in 
history and ah what happens if they start rearming.  Do 
we sit back and do nothing for the next five to six 
years, say everythings peaceful and we're not going to 
have to worry about another super power.  We have to 
develop technology, we have to explore foreign 
technologies.  Where can that be done except in a remote 
area like the Nellis Ranges.  We need a Nellis Range, we 
need these type of facilities for the national defense 
and where what are what are we harming I mean I don't 
understand people wanting to come down and view these 
facilities.  Ah fact is we have secret facilities I 
would think the most people in the United States would 
respect the ability of the Department of Defense and the 
Intelligence Agencies to protect that ah that technology 
and ah but they don't, they climb up to the mountains, 
they come out at night, they take pictures down of the 
facilities, whatever's going on down there has to be 
hidden away.  Ah you mentioned earlier you'd been up 
there.  You didn't see much, the reason you didn't see 
much if there was anything going on they knew you were 
up there and they immediately had to stop doing whatever 
they were doing.  If they were working on a particular 
technology or working on a particular ah problem ah they 
knew you were going up there and they knew you were up 
there before you got up there and immediately had to 
withdraw, stop doing whatever they're doing.  They could 
have lost eight, ten hours worth of work that they were 
working on and they would stop and and ah and move 
everything into hangers or camouflage it and then when 
you went back down they'd start up again working on what 
they were working on.  

Q
It's referred to I think around here as the land grab.  
I think ah the government acquiring some of the ah 
property around the area where people are climbing up 
and looking down into those areas. It sounds to me that 
you might support something like that.

A
Well you've got to remember when the original boundaries 
for the Nevada Test Ranges was was created ah it was 
pretty much laid out and done by somebody at the 
Pentagon. Ah they forgot to put certain areas in ah they 
just drew lines and said this is in, this is out...

Q
Right.

A
In this particular case there are some mountains that 
you can climb up on and you have done that and look 
right down at the facility. Ah we feel and I feel 
strongly that for national security reasons and actually 
economics so we don't have to stop doing what we're 
doing down there for days ah weeks sometimes cause they 
keep coming up during certain times of the year.  It's 
like a holy mountain almost some of the the space buffs 
that believe the aliens are down there like to climb up 
there it's almost like a ah psychic experience to them 
to go up there and look down with the ah night vision 
lenses at night, to stand up there with binoculars 
during the day with ah ah ah with high powered cameras 
during the day ah it costs probably the tax payers 
millions of dollars a year just having to stop and you 
have people on payroll up there that are working day 
after day and are getting paid salaries that can't do 
anything as long as people are up there on the mountain 
or very limited facilities.  

Q
This has come this little act of people climbing up the 
mountain looking at whatever they can see, the security 
people coming and if they take pictures or you know 
tailing them and then you know hoping don't let them get 
to close.  If they take pictures take the film away that 
sort of thing.  With a lot of people we've talked to 
it's been regarded somewhat as a game.  I don't think 
you look at it that way.

A
No I don't, absolutely.  I think it's it's it's you're 
playing with fire.  I think that you're going down we 
are conducting top level secret ah installation this is 
top secret and they're conducting top secret experiments 
down there and people are interfering with that because 
some of the things can't be done in the hangers, cannot 
be done under camouflage, have to be done out in the 
open and yet we have people up there that want to take 
pictures of that sort of thing.  Whether it's critical 
that the United States government is going to fall or 
the National Security is going to be breached to such a 
point that our our national security is put in jeopardy 
highly questionable for each event but when you take it 
and add it all together ah it becomes a serious problem.  
Why not just withdraw some additional areas prohibit the 
ability of people to look down and spy on that facility 
and that's what probably will happen.  It's probably 
about a five hundred square mile area that would 
probably be added to the present ah Nellis Ranges and 
with that done ah that alleviates the problem. There'd 
still be people that will come out in the middle of the 
night with jeeps and they'll try to get in the facility.  
We have people that try to climb into the Nevada Test 
Site during testing. Ah would crawl out there and try to 
to get to ground zero ah at they would they would lay 
out there and bring these like these sheets that were 
like silver on the top and when we go over with our 
helicopters they could pick up heat sensing bodies they 
would have that over their heads and when you go over 
you wouldn't pick it up because it it wouldn't penetrate 
and these people ah you know endanger themselves plus 
the helicopter crews that had to fly at night in some 
dangerous terrain to try to find them and we find that 
everywhere.  There's also some highly radioactive areas 
out there that were still are still highly radioactive 
after having been tested above ground testing that went 
on in the ah in in the forties and fifties at the Nevada 
Test Site and ah some of those areas, some of those dry 
lakes out there are very hot today and if you walk 
through that and spends some time out there you would 
probably have a high dose of radiation.

Q
I read of I mean if it if it happened if some of the 
technology that ah to develop stealth was conducted out 
there and if it posed an environmental hazard or we also 
hear and and this is you know as you do research on 
these things you read you come across these articles.  
We also hear of seemingly unlimited budgets, amounts of 
money being poured into this work out there that's you 
know it seems to have no check system.  Those things 
like that do you think there should be some do you think 
those two things should allow us to be able to know 
what's going on out there.

A
Well we have done a lot of checking on that ah you know 
when the B2 bomber came out ah most members of Congress 
did not know the B2 program even existed just in rumors 
and when it finally came out of the of the special 
access which was used to be called the black projects 
now it's special access is the correct terminology ah 
when it came out it was at twenty-two billion had been 
spent on the B2 bomber before Congress even knew that 
the B2 program existed.  It was done in various 
programs, it was listed under different names.  I mean 
the money always shows up in the budget but you don't 
know what it's going to show up under.  For instance one 
of the great myths of the of this of this last five 
years has been Aurora that ah some super spy plane that 
could travel at speeds that were just tremendous ah 
because they found a budget line item after the B2 came 
out that laid over for one year and that was called 
Aurora and it had many millions of dollars in it. Aurora 
was one of the cover up funds for the B2 and ah it was 
listed under Aurora and they had it in different funds.  
We have taken a tight hand in the Armed Services 
Committee and said hey we don't ever want to see another 
project that spends this kind of money again and comes 
out and we're kind of obligated to continue because 
we've poured so much money already into it that we can't 
really cancel it and just throw away the tax payers 
dollars.  So we have a cap now that once a project 
reaches a certain level that we must have the full 
committee in Armed Services ah even if it's in closed 
briefing must be fully aware of where it is and then we 
have a point where it has to come out of the special 
access and has to come public and I don't remember the 
exact amount that is I think it's someways like three 
hundred and fifty million dollars that still sounds like 
a lot of money but it certainly when you compare it to 
twenty-two billion isn't is a lot better but all that 
money is accountable.  There are people within the 
committee, the full committee chairman Armed Services 
and on both sides, the ranking minority members know 
about these projects.  The full committee chairman on ah 
research and technology knows about it. There are a lot 
of people in Congress the leadership knows about these 
projects.  Their not as if there so secret that no one 
knows about them.  There are a lot of members on a need 
to know basis that are aware of them and more and more 
are becoming available aware because we are now breaking 
that down because we don't we don't ever want to see 
another B2 happen again to us where the reason the B2 
costs so much is that we put so much ah research and 
technology into it that it was I mean if you break that 
down to what it costs per bomber if we just forgot that 
part of it it probably cost us about three hundred 
million a bomber that's still a lot but it's more like 
eight hundred and fifty million bomber when you take in 
all that R and T that was done and I think we would have 
put a stop to it somewhere along the line at a time when 
we're running these massive deficits and said hey listen 
we're going to the B2 maybe desirable but we just can't 
afford it but but there's probably a lot of money being 
spent out there but I know most of the project that are 
going on out there and it's not anything like that kind 
of money and the kind of projects being done out there 
don't require the kind of money you're talking about.  
There's not the development of some super sophisticated 
system going out there.  These are not the kind of 
projects that are going on out there right now.

Q
With a government of our size and and of the stature 
when you talk about things like above top secret 
projects is it possible that a program could exist and 
could be so secret that even a man of your position that 
this knowledge would be withheld from.

A
Well ah certainly there's there's the possibility that 
projects in my position, my paid raid is ah not that 
high I mean I'm a member of the Armed Services Committee 
a ranking member on the Intelligence Committee but I'm 
certainly not the chairman of the full committee or non 
the speaker of the house or the rank minority leader.  
Yes I could not know about them.  I do not believe a 
project could exist that is that secret.  There are not 
at least a dozen people in the United States House and 
Senate that do  do not know about these projects and on 
some of these projects I know for instances that ah that 
come up ah like Aurora.  I know Senator Bird who is the 
chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the Senate 
has had people looking into Aurora and has found no 
evidence of it.  So obviously he knows doesn't know 
anything about Aurora so ah you know I I think that the 
likelihood of these projects being found that are so 
secret that no one knows about them.  Now there are 
things people are working on there's all sorts of 
scientific ah experiments being done throughout the 
military industrial complex that the at the military 
labs that ah lazar technology and all sorts of 
technology that we I may could find out about but maybe 
I because there's so much you know I would not find out 
about it.  Now if somebody pinned me on and said there 
is a top secret facility at the Nellis Ranges that is 
doing a certain item I could find out.  I could go to 
the Department of Defense and say listen this has been 
alleged, now they may say to me Congressman you can't 
talk about it but yes we do have a project of that sort 
going on out there and if you want to come out and view 
the project we'll take you out there and I could go out 
there but on the other hand I don't think any of them 
would look me in the eye and say, no it doesn't exist 
where it does exist.  They may say I have a problem 
talking to you about that Congressman you better I'll 
have to clear it at a higher level and I could do it but 
I don't believe any real top secret projects exist that 
that the the top people in Congress don't know about.  

Q
Ah we've seen some some video of all the light things 
moving and strange maneuvers over the mountains is that 
something that...

A
Well let me give you a hypothetical.  If I was moving 
people in and out of a secret area and I was doing a lot 
of this in the evening and I was flying them out on 
airplanes and or helicopters and in many of these cases 
the the helicopters and the planes had windows that are 
open and lighted ah planes take off like 707s, 727s with 
their windows open with the lights on ah at the middle 
of the night these planes take off over the top of the 
mountains and ah people see them and the first reaction 
is that they're flying saucers, their secret equipment, 
they hear roars of engines ah I wonder if there is you 
know new types of engines technology being worked on in 
the valley and those val mountain valleys as quiet as it 
is you can hear a pin drop you could imagine what 
turning on a high ah ah engine of high velocity would 
would create in those mountain valleys and echos that 
would go on. So ah I'll tell you right now I think 
people are seeing things, I don't think they are making 
them up but I think they're very explainable except the 
fact that the military doesn't want to explain it.

Q
Could you just once more give us a sense of the size of 
the area the scope of that whole area.

A
Well

Q
(unintelligible) remoteness of it.

A
Okay the remoteness is if you flew from Las Vegas and 
took a helicopter ride up there you could go by the time 
you got even at a high speed helicopter it would take 
you two or three hours to get from one end from Las 
Vegas to the very end of the facilities. Ah the land 
mass is probably somewhere around twenty to thirty 
thousand square miles ah that would give you an idea 
that ah I imagine a state like Maryland probably about 
fifteen thousand square miles I I could be wrong on that 
but it's it's like a large state.  I would be like 
driving from ah probably Washington D.C. to New York to 
get to the end of the facility and that gives you an 
idea of the massiveness of this facility.  I mean this 
is and it's a desert valleys, one valley after another 
ah it's an amazing facility.

Q
(unintelligible) Um the ah friendship photographs the 
Russians have photographed (unintelligible) U.S. 
geological survey map now ah aerial photos um obviously 
everyone knows that something exists out there and 
(unintelligible) why can't the government say there is a 
secret base that sits out there and you just can't look 
into that and that's the end of it.  

A
Let let me tell you it's like the process of ah as you 
were a kid when somebody would come you know and ask you 
a question you didn't want to answer and they say well 
would you tell me is it this and I'd say no, well is it 
this and I'd say no and finally they'd say well is it 
this and I'd say I won't answer that.  Well you would 
then by process of elimination know what it was.  I 
think the problem again of the Department of Defense is 
that there is more than one facility out there and there 
is some facilities you know about and I guarantee 
there's some facilities you don't know about and if they 
start revealing facilities you do know about by process 
then you'll start saying well are there other facilities 
out there and what what's this little cabin sitting out 
in this little valley is that is that a facility and if 
they say we're not going to tell you about that facility 
then you really get your interest ah up and you're going 
to make sure you try to find out what's going on at that 
facility.  I think the better tact in this what the 
military has taken is to just deny everything and to 
remain silent and by remaining silent ah it makes it 
more difficult for you to penetrate the secrecy that's 
out there.  They believe it's necessary, a lot of people 
in government believe it's necessary, I believe it's se 
it's necessary for the national security of this country 
and the fact is that ah ah there's a lot of people 
that'd like to know, members of the press would like to 
know, members of the scientific community would like to 
know and someday they will know but right now we believe 
for national security purposes it should be shut off 
from the general public. 

Q
It's one of those things I mean when you say 
(unintelligible) child you say we just give it to them 
(unintelligible) they're going to go away 
(unintelligible).

A
I don't think in this particular case that people would 
go away because the next question well if you have a 
base and you acknowledge it's there what do you do 
there.  Do you have this there, do you have that there.  
It's better as far as the military is concerned rather 
than try to explain what's out there it's better just to 
remain silent.

Q
Do you think there is a potential for some real 
confrontation in the future with the ah you know with 
what's happening in in media they ability for people to 
get in there with ah...

A
Oh there there people are going to try all the time ah I 
would say that on an average of once a week somebody 
tries to penetrate in there to see what's going on.  
Sometimes by accident I've I've I've talked to people 
who've been out there just just joy riding in jeeps 
trying to find around all of a sudden found themselves 
surrounded by people with M M16 rifles and escorting 
them out and calling me indignantly and saying why was I 
kicked out of that area.  I didn't know I crossed I 
didn't see any signs you know but the fact is people 
will will always try to find out what's going on in some 
secret area.  It's it's just the intrigue.  I I'd 
probably want to know myself if I didn't know already.  
That's why I found out (laughter).

Q
Congressman thank you very.

A
Alright. 

Q
(unintelligible) (laughter)

A
George, someday I'd love to take you out there 
(laughter)

Q
Can you tell us any thing you've seen there.

A
No, no I cannot tell you what goes on within the 
facility.  You know there's facilities there but I can't 
tell you what they are.

Q
The stories we hear about things in there, we hear about 
flying saucers, things flying over can you confirm any 
of that.

A
I can tell you that there are no flying saucers out 
there and there are no aliens out at that particular 
facility.

Q
A lot of people who think they should have access to be 
able to see what's going on in there would that be a 
threat to national security.

A
I think it would be, I think that ah the fact is that we 
have the right to have secret facilities and test secret 
equipment and test ah equipment ah say that ah from 
other foreign nationals and that the fact is that ah by 
having people have access to it it would be very, very 
dangerous to our national security.

Q
It's become known around here as ah land grab, do you 
think that needs to be to protect national security.

A
Absolutely and and one of things that we didn't bring up 
before is the fact that ah people that ah that that is 
government owned land it's not as if it's land that 
belongs to some third party.

Q
Right.

A
We're not taking anybody elses property, we have had 
some mining claims that we've worked with the people on 
and we don't really have any protest from people whose 
you know are in the area.  The protest are outsiders 
from the outside the area coming in.

END OF INTERVIEW