FBI and U.S. Air Force agents have raided the home of a man who runs a website about Area 51, a top-secret Nevada military base.
Authorities confirmed that officers entered Joerg Arnu’s properties in Las Vegas and Rachel Township, near the defense facility, earlier this month as part of a joint investigation, but gave no further details.
The blogger runs a website called Dreamland Resort, which focuses on Area 51, an air force base about 120 miles northwest of Las Vegas where classified military aircraft are tested.
Started by Mr. Arnu in 1999, it includes satellite imagery of bases; articles on test flights, “black projects” and UFOs; details of drone video and scanner frequencies of locations around Area 51.
Lt. Col. Brian McGarry, spokesman for Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, confirmed the raid, saying in a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal: Open and ongoing law enforcement investigation OSI (Office of Special Investigations) between the Bureau of Investigation and the Air Force.”
In a press release posted on his website, Mr. Anu said: “I believe that the search, carried out with entirely unnecessary force by overzealous government agents, was designed to silence the Area 51 research community.”
He said each of his homes was raided on Nov. 3 by as many as 20 “heavily armed” agents.
Mr Arnu, who was at his Rachel home while his girlfriend was at their Las Vegas home when the attack occurred, said they were both “detained and treated in the most disrespectful manner”.
He added: “My girlfriend was led out into the street barefoot and wearing only her underwear in full view of our neighbours.
“I was taken outside, handcuffed and wearing only a T-shirt, sweating in sub-zero temperatures.
“Despite my repeated demands for an explanation, I was only told that the search was related to images posted on my Area 51 website.”
During the raid, Mr Anu claimed all of his “laptops, mobile phones, backup drives, camera equipment and my drone were confiscated”.
He estimated the damage to his home at $5,000 (£4,206) and the value of the confiscated equipment at $20,000 (£16,823).
He claimed 40 pages were missing from the search warrant he received and the case file was sealed and unreadable.
Mr Arnu continued: “In order to defuse the situation, I have removed some material from my Dreamland Resort website, although I believe it was legally obtained and legally published.
“I will not share anything on my site that cannot be found on many other sites and news media publications.
“Given how this happened, I have no intention of removing any more material unless ordered to do so by a federal judge.”
Area 51 has long been the focus of UFO and alien conspiracy theories, only reinforced by its clandestine role.
Nearby State Route 375 was even officially named the Extraterrestrial Highway in 1996.
But Mr Anu is dismissive of his UFO story site.
He said: “In fact, anyone who spends some time investigating Area 51 will quickly understand that what happens there has an Earth-based origin and has nothing to do with ‘alien’.
“It is clear that the abundance of UFO folklore is nothing more than a popular smoke screen to distract from the true purpose of the base, and the research and development of various black projects.”