Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Obama Area 51 Connection

If you have been looking for an Area 51 connection to Barack Obama, here's one: Every year he is going to have to sign an Executive Order exempting Area 51 from environmental reporting regulations. Clinton did it, and of course Bush II did. Will Obama?

The annual exemption is the result of a lawsuit by the widow of a former Area 51 worker who died after alleged exposure to toxic substances at Groom Lake. (Keywords: Helen Frost, Jonathan Turley.) The lawsuit was unsuccessful in obtaining any compensation, but it did result in the annual Presidential order.

The Executive Order is a publicly-published document that should be found in the Federal Register. I believe it is signed every January. [A reader says September.] I'm not sure whether Bush already did it this year or Obama has yet to do it. It is the sort of thing that is bound to get buried in the avalanche of orders the new President will release.

I expect he will sign it without much internal debate. New leaders don't usually break with precedent on routine matters like that, but you never know.

—Glenn Campbell

BTW: Here are my photos from the Inauguration.
[Be sure to see the reader comments linked below.]


  1. The exemption for Area 51 is usually signed in mid September. The last one I bothered looking up was for 2002.

    BTW, nice pictures. I like the one with your reflection in the glasses.

  2. I'm not sure there is a need for exemptions anymore:

    That still doesn't explain no exemptions between 2003 and 2008,


  3. At this point, the worker injury case has nothing to do with the annual exemption. The exemption only concerns public environmental reporting. If the President were to fail to sign the Executive Order, the Area 51 would be subject to the same environmental reporting rules as any other toxic waste site in the country.

    Executive Orders are fairly extraordinary events. At some--under Obama or some other President--the E.O. is NOT going to be signed. That could conceivably set off a cascade of events that finally opens Area 51 to the world.

    Someday before I die, I expect to be walking the streets of Area 51 on some official government tour -- and saying, "So What?"

  4. Here is one of Clinton's exemption orders and here is the 2002 order by Bush. The 2002 order seems to be the last, but you can search yourself at the Federal Register.

    I don't have the time to research why there were no orders from 2003 through 2008. Perhaps there was some overarching order that suspended all such reporting for military facilities. (We were engaged in a "War on Terror," remember?)

  5. its not a war on terror, its a war on oil or "peace"