Conspiracy Watch: All the Gold in Fort Knox

Has the Ft. Knox gold gone AWOL?

Illustration: Peter Hoey

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The latest installment in our ongoing collection of wonderfully weird (and totally whack) conspiracy theories. Find more Conspiracy Watch entries here.

Is Fort Knox secretly empty? Did Glenn Beck—or perhaps aliens—move the gold to an even more secure location? Yes, it’s time for another installment of Conspiracy Watch, our ongoing collection of wonderfully weird (and totally whack) conspiracy theories. 

THE THEORY: The federal government keeps more than half of its gold—some 5,050 tons—stashed inside the bullion depository in Ft. Knox, Kentucky. At least it says it does, since it won’t let anyone in there to check. Why all the secrecy? Because much—or all—of the gold has disappeared.

THE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS: Fears that Ft. Knox is being emptied date back more than half a century (see “Gold Bug Variations“). Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) says his measure to audit the Federal Reserve, which passed the House last December, would force the first open audit of Ft. Knox in decades. The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, a nonprofit that promotes “the liberation of thee precious metals markets as a matter of international human rights,” suspects that the gold has been raided to manipulate commodities markets in an effort to sink gold prices and bolster the dollar. Some gold bugs go even further, claiming that Ft. Knox’s gold bars have been replaced with fakes filled with super-dense tungsten.

MEANWHILE, BACK ON EARTH: Mint spokesman Michael White says the Treasury conducts a “comprehensive audit” of Ft. Knox annually, and the gold’s all there—you’ll just have to take its word for it. And Ron Paul’s plan to open the Fed’s books might not penetrate the vault: The US Mint and the Federal Reserve say that Ft. Knox is not even part of the Fed.

Kookiness Rating: Tin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat SmallTin Foil Hat Small (1=maybe they’re on to something, 5=break out the tinfoil hat!)

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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