- WASHINGTON (CBS) - In a little-noticed
message to Congress Tuesday, President Clinton again acted to protect the
secrecy of military operations at the facility that has come to be known
as Area 51, reports CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller.
- Long a subject of interest among UFO buffs and conspiracy
theorists, Area 51 is not mentioned by name in the presidential notice.
Instead, it is referred to mysteriously as "the United States Air
Force's operating location near Groom Lake, Nevada."
- Groom Lake is about 100 miles north of Las Vegas.
- In the message, Mr. Clinton informs Congress that, acting
under the authority of Presidential Determination 99-37, he was exempting
that facility "from any federal, state, interstate or local hazardous
or solid waste laws that might require the disclosure of classified information
concerning that operating location to unauthorized persons."
- Further, the president asserts that "information
concerning activities at the operating location near Groom Lake has been
properly determined to be classified and its disclosure would be harmful
to national security.
- "Continued protection of this information is, therefore,
in the paramount interest of the United States," declared the president.
- The president issued similar waivers in 1996, 1998 and
- One of those waivers was also intended to protect the
government from court-ordered disclosures about Area 51, stemming from
a lawsuit by former employees claiming they were exposed to toxic materials
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