Glenn Campbell with a road sensor on public land near Area 51 (Der Spiegel photo)
Glenn Campbell with a road sensor on public land near Area 51
(1995 photo from Der Spiegel article)
[Supplement to the Groom Lake Desert Rat #7.]

ABC World News Tonight
April 19, 1994

Peter Jennings:  Finally from us this evening, the road to
Dreamland.  And there really is such a place, though you are not
supposed to know about it, and the U.S. Air Force is unhappy with
us because we're going to tell you about it.  The Dreamland we are
talking about is actually an Air Force base in Nevada.  The
Russians know about it, so why not you?  ABC's Jimmy Walker has
the results of an ABC News investigation....

Jimmy Walker:  We are one hundred miles from Las Vegas driving
across the Nevada desert on public land.  There is more here than
meets the eye.  A few feet off the dirt road, an electronic sensor
is hidden in the sagebrush.

Glenn Campbell:  [Radio static in background.]  The base control
has relayed to the patrols that someone has crossed one of their
sensors.  That's us.

Walker:  So they now know...

Campbell:  They know we're here.  They'll be here in about ten

Walker:  Sure enough, minutes later, a white Jeep goes by.
Someone is very interested in who visits this particular piece of
scrub.  That someone is the U.S. Air Force.  A helicopter flies
out to investigate us.  It comes from Groom Lake, one of the most
closely guarded military facilities in the country.

The secret air base which some people call Dreamland or others
Watertown or still others Area 51 is located about twelve miles
over in that direction.  It's clearly visible but the government
won't acknowledge that it even exists.  And to photograph it would
violate the Espionage Act.

Military historians say the U-2 spy plane was tested at Groom
Lake.  More recently, the Stealth fighter.  But the base does not
appear on any map, and for the record, the Pentagon will only say
that Groom Lake is part of the vast Nellis Range complex.

Enter Glenn Campbell and Peter Merlin, members of a group that
believes the Air Force has too many secrets and not enough
accountability.  Armed with lawn chairs and binoculars, they set
up shop on public land overlooking the air base.  And they're
driving the Air Force crazy.

Peter Merlin:  There's some large hangers.  One is quite enormous.
And a control tower....

Walker:  As a result of the prying eyes, the Air Force is trying
to expropriate this hilltop and an adjoining one to add to the
4700 square miles it already controls, saying it's needed for
safety reasons.

Campbell:  There was the suggestion that people sitting on this
ridge like we are doing might be hit by aircraft.

Walker:  The pending land grab has turned the hilltops into a
tourist attraction, drawing even more attention to the base.  Last
month at a federal hearing in Las Vegas, officials got an earful.

Angry Citizen at Hearing:  The place is big enough already.  How
much expansion do they need?  That place is safe.  It's stupid.

Another Citizen at Hearing:  There have already been allegations
that environmental crimes have been committed there.  Now you're
asking for 4000 more acres to hide behind.

Walker:  What's more, buy this model plane kit [Testor's "Thunder
Dart"] and you get with it [on the] directions this 1988
photograph of the base taken by a Soviet satellite.  The pentagon
says it's okay to show you this picture.

Campbell:  The only people this base is being kept secret from are
the American people, the people who pay for it.

Walker:  Our story took an unexpected turn as we prepared to
leave.  We spotted a Sheriff's car heading our way.

Deputy (at driver's window):  We're investigating the possibility
of a criminal offense.

Walker:  And what would that criminal offense be?

Deputy:  Sir, may I see your driver's license, please.

Walker:  They believed we were photographing the facility.  They
were wrong.  We were detained, questioned and searched.  Our
camera, audio equipment and some video tapes were confiscated.
The Air Force held the gear for five days before returning it.  No
charges were filed against us.

And every work day, a fleet of privately owned unmarked airliners
shuttle more than 1500 workers from Las Vegas to the base that
doesn't exist.

Campbell (looking through binoculars):  Yup, secret base out
there.  Sure enough.  Same secret base as yesterday.

Walker:  James Walker, ABC News, Lincoln County, Nevada.


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