What is Fort Knox? Located in Kentucky, Fort Knox is a United States Army base that’s home to most of the US’s gold reserves. It’s one of the most inaccessible places in the world and is so secure it once housed the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. It also has a serious reputation among conspiracy theorists who question the amount of gold actually in the vault and what else might be hidden within. Because only one president has ever been inside – and the US Mint remains largely mum on the contents of the vault – Fort Knox conspiracy theories abound. What’s really inside Fort Knox? The general American public may never know.
There Are Some Pretty Crazy Conspiracy Theories About Fort Knox
Because there is so little access and information about the contents of the gold vault, there are a lot of theories about what’s really inside. Some conspiracy theorists – like the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) – think that the gold doesn’t really exist, there isn’t as much as the government claims, or the government has been selling it off for years. Others claim the gold is really tungsten bricks painted to look like the precious metal.
Theories also exist as to the other contents of the vault. There are crazy rumors about what the vault might house – like the body of Jimmy Hoffa. There are equally strange things to have been really stored in the vault, like morphine and opium, during the early ’90s.
Very Few People Have Ever Seen The Gold At Fort Knox
In August 2017, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin visited the gold vault at Fort Knox and, along with a few other politicians, surveyed the site. Congressman Brett Guthrie, from Kentucky, made the trip and issued the following statement:
It was an honor to join Secretary Mnuchin, Governor Bevin, and Senator McConnell to visit the depository yesterday – the first time visitors have been allowed at the facility since members of Congress inspected the depository in 1974… I am glad to report that everything at the depository looked to be secure and in order.
The last Congressional visit prior to this was in 1974. To date, only one US President has been inside the vault – Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who was president when the US Bullion Depository was established.
The Government Won’t Show The Public How Much Gold Is In Fort Knox
Despite continued inquiries, the US Mint refuses to offer up proof of the exact amount of gold held at Fort Knox. Very few people have ever been allowed into the vault and while it’s generally believed that there are 147.3 million ounces of gold there, the accuracy of that is in doubt. Presidential candidate Ron Paul was unsuccessful when he called for an audit of the US Federal Reserve and Fort Knox in 2008, but his skepticism echoed those of other conspiracy theorists.
It’s Surrounded By Guns, Mines, Security Cameras, And 100,000 Acres Of Land
To get to the gold vault at Fort Knox, you’d have to make your way through a network of security measures. Fort Knox itself is over 100,000 acres in size and houses 30,000 military personnel. On the way to the vault, there is a literal mine field and an electric fence protecting the gold. There are also video cameras, motion detectors, and secret microphones set up to pick up the presence of anyone or anything that’s not supposed to be there. US Mint Police are a constant presence as they preside over the grounds from four machine gun towers placed around the perimeter.
The Gold Vault Has A Door That Weighs 22 Tons
The gold vault at Fort Knox is “encased in 16,000 cubic feet of granite and 4,200 cubic yards of cement.” The door weighs 22 tons and is 21 inches thick, and the roof is bomb proof. The vault can withstand guns, blowtorches, and other incendiary devices.
The Eisenhower Administration Conducted The Last Audit Of Fort Knox
In 1953, the US Treasury Department audited Fort Knox, but only 5% of the gold was actually tested for purity. No outside experts were permitted onsite for the audit either. This has provided fodder for all kinds of conspiracy theorists. Many of those theorists believe there isn’t any gold in the fort at all, or the majority of the gold is tungsten bricks painted to look gold.
The US Mint Hand Picks Fort Knox Personnel
The guards at the gold vault are chosen by the US Mint and make up the US Mint Police. US Mint Police officers undergo extensive training in “weapons handling, movements, danger areas, cover management, contact and cover, 360-degree security, cornering, door entry, room clearing, and breaching.”
During World War Two, The US Moved Important Historical Documents To Fort Knox
During World War Two, original versions of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights were moved to the gold vault to be kept safe. The documents were moved in secret in fear of the nation’s capital being attacked.They were returned to Washington, DC, in 1944 when an attack on US soil was deemed unlikely.
Since The US Isn’t On The Gold Standard, It May Not Matter How Much Is In Fort Knox
The amount of gold held at Fort Knox might not even matter. The US went off of the gold standard in 1971, meaning that the amount of gold no longer specifically relates to the value of the American dollar. With this move, the gold at Fort Knox remains part of the US’s overall monetary wealth but as a Treasury Department commodity – something the department can trade with other countries – more than anything else. Why keep it then? According to former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan, “just in case we need it.”
Between World Wars, Fort Knox Became Home To The Nation’s Gold Reserves
Because gold was so heavy, it was brought on trains by the Post Office Department – the predecessor of the modern US Postal Service. Gold was “shipped in on a special nine-car train manned by machine gunners and loaded onto Army trucks protected by a US Cavalry brigade.”
Fort Knox As A Symbol Of Strength Emerged From Pro-Democratic Propaganda
In 1941, part of the US campaign against Hitler and the Nazis included playing up democracy and the strength of the US. The Fort Knox gold is a symbol of said strength. Journalist Taylor Edmond proposed using the gold to “encourage” foreign politicians in their support of the US.
During the Cold War in the 1950s, the CIA undertook Operation Mockingbird to control and disseminate information about their activities. The government may have used Fort Knox as a symbol to the American people as well. Ironically, the existence of Operation Mockingbird continues to feed into skepticism and conspiracy theories about the gold at Fort Knox.
Fort Knox Was Named For The US’s First Secretary Of War
The first fortifications at what would become known as Fort Knox were established during the Civil War. Located in Kentucky, the site was a military outpost during the late 19th and early 20th centuries until the First World War. In 1918, the government set up an artillery training facility on 40,000 acres of land in Kentucky and named it Camp Henry Knox for the first Secretary of War. After World War One ended, the number of forces at the camp were reduced, and some of the land was briefly turned into a national forest. In 1931, Camp Knox became permanent home to the Mechanized Cavalry, and in 1932, the name was changed to Fort Knox.