For many decades Fort Knox has been synonymous with high security, often thought to be one of the most secure places on earth. This building is located in the state of Kentucky and is said to house a considerably amount of gold, among other things. But with so much myth and legend surrounding this place, it’s difficult to know what is true and what’s not. So, what is the purpose of Fort Knox, does it contain any gold and just how secure is it?
History of Fort Knox
A fort has existed in this area for many years, beginning during the American Civil War. During the early years of the 20th century this area began to be used by the US military for training purposes, and in 1918 it was decided that there should be a permanent base here, purely for the military. Named “Fort Knox” after former US general Henry Knox, this site spanned many thousands of acres.
This site remained an army training facility and in the 1930s a bullion depository was built there by the US Department of the Treasury. This fortified building is the epicenter of Fort Knox and throughout its history it has been home to many thousands of tons of gold and other precious items.
Fort Knox and Gold
It is indeed true that there is a lot of gold at Fort Knox, but just how much gold is not public knowledge. In the 1930s there was an audit which reported on the exact figure and its worth, but that remained the only audit to be done at the site. Since then we don’t really know if the amount has decreased or increased, and we certainly do not know how much gold this secure location holds.
One estimation, and one that is often quoted, is that Fort Knox contains a fraction over 2% of all of the gold that has even been mined. Based on the fact that we have mined around 165,000 tons throughout human history, we can estimate that Fort Knox holds a little over 3,300 tons, which is roughly half of the total gold hoard owned by the United States (a figure that we can be a little more confident about).
The first gold shipments were sent to Fort Knox in 1937, with many gold coins melted and formed into bars in order to supply the facility with uniform bars. Old bullion bars were also used, which means that a large percentage of the gold currently stored in Fort Knox was formed prior to the 1930s.
It’s not just about gold. The high levels of security at this facility make it the perfect place to store anything that needs to be held securely and/or out of sight of the public. During the Second World War many priceless pieces of US history were sent here to safeguard them from bombs and spies, including the original United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. It didn’t just keep American history safe from the axis powers either, as it also became a base for many important European documents and precious items, including copies of the Magna Carta and pieces of Crown Jewels.
Fort Knox even stored a supply of morphine, as the government worried that the global conflicts associated with the Second World War and the Cold War would restrict the amount of opium they could process and turn into this essential painkiller.
Audits and Conspiracies
Anything as big as Fort Knox that plays such a crucial role in the world’s biggest economy, is bound to attract controversy. As there have been no audits on the gold stored here for many decades, and as there have been suggestions that Fort Knox’s supply could have been compromised by counterfeit gold, many have called for an audit. Ron Paul, a presidential Candidate, is trying to force such an audit to take place and will likely make it a regular thing if he gets his way. Of course, he needs to succeed with his bill for this to happen, which is looking unlikely. He may not be the only one to focus on this though, and before long, this could be a very realistic possibility.
One of the reasons behind this audit is the theory that suggests the Fed has sold all of the gold, and that it has already profited from what was there. If that is true, it will cause massive problems for the United States and will also like to affect their relations with other first world nations. GATA have talked about this on many occasions, but to date it is nothing but hearsay and they, or anyone else, have not put forward any irrefutable evidence that this has happened. Due to the security and secrecy surrounding the the Fort Knox reserves, it is highly unlikely that anyone will know for sure whether this has happened or not. That is, of course, until someone actually performs an audit.
The vaults at Fort Knox are reported to be lined with granite, making them almost impenetrable, and there are also blast-proof doors installed which are said to weigh more than 25 tons. Obviously, the staff still need to access the vaults and this is often the major weakness of facilities like this, but at Fort Knox there are many layers of security and many different access codes that are unique to individual members of staff.
There is also a site-specific police force who keep an eye on the facility, and there are several fences and guard posts surrounding the facility. There is a reason you will have heard the expression, “As safe as Fort Knox” and that is because there is literally no place on earth that is more well guarded.