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US Mint Releases New Fort Knox “Audit Documentation”. The First Critical Observations.

Discussion in 'Gold Silver (All things Metal)' started by Goldhedge, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. Goldhedge

    Goldhedge Modal Operator/Moderator Site Mgr Site Supporter

    Mar 28, 2010
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    Posted on 26 Feb 2017 by Koos Jansen
    US Mint Releases New Fort Knox “Audit Documentation”. The First Critical Observations.

    In response to a FOIA request the US Mint has finally released reports drafted from 1993 through 2008 related to the physical audits of the US official gold reserves. However, the documents released are incomplete and reveal the audit procedures have not been executed proficiently. Moreover, because the Mint could not honor its promises in full the costs ($3,144.96 US dollars) of the FOIA request have been refunded.

    Thanks to my readers that donated to the crowdfunding campaign I’ve been able to force the US Mint through a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request to hand over documents related to the physical audits of the US official gold reserves stored at the Mint; also referred to as Deep Storage gold. Although the PDF-package digitally sent to me is redacted, incomplete, includes pages copied twice and materials I didn’t ask for, it’s the closest thing that I’ve ever seen to physical audit documentation of gold at Fort Knox and the other Mint depositories drafted in between 1993 and 2008.

    What is worrying is that the reports now in my possession reveal the audit procedures have not competently been executed. Combine that with the fact the documents are incomplete and redacted, and the result is suspicion of fraud. In this blog post we’ll have a first critical look at the reports and the problems to be found within.

    This post is a sequel to

    US Government Tight-Lipped About Fort Knox Audits
    For starters, allow me to expand on what I think happened at the Mint’s headquarter on the 8thfloor at 801 9th Street NW Washington DC, before these documents were sent to me.

    It should be clear that the US Treasury (owner of the gold), US Mint (main custodian), Federal Reserve Bank Of New York (second custodian), and the Office Inspector General of the US Treasury (head auditor), are reluctant to disclose information about the audits of the gold at the four largest depositories that store over 8,000 fine metric tonnes. Consider that the most seasoned gold analysts aren’t even aware this gold is audited.

    About a year ago we read in the introduction of an interview with world-renowned gold commentators Jim Rickards, “unlike many today, Jim Rickards believes the gold is indeed in Fort Knox but has not been audited to avoid drawing attention to it and to downplay its role”. More recently, on 11 February 2017 the Financial Times wrote, “much of the world’s excavated gold is thought to be in Fort Knox, but nobody can be sure, since the US government will not allow the auditors in”. No, auditing Fort Knox is not a topic only the mainstream media are confused about. Gold advocates are in the dark as well.

    Exhibit 0. Source. Overview of the four main depositories that store the US official gold reserves: Denver, Fort Knox, West point and the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York. Where the working stock is exactly located is not known (likely Washington DC, Philadelphia and West Point; perhaps also Denver and San Francisco). The Deep Storage gold is the metal in 42 sealed compartments spread over Denver, Fort Knox and West Point.

    What nobody knows is that according the US government 100 per cent of the Deep Storage gold has been audited in between 1974 and 2008 (page 4). This period can be divided in two chapters: the first runs from 1974 until 1986 when the Committee for Continuing Audit of the U.S. Government-owned Gold verified the majority of the Deep Storage metal. The second chapter covers 1993 until 2008 when the residual was examined under the supervision of the Office Inspector General of the US Treasury. In my previous posts on this subject we focused on the first chapter, what is written below skims the surface of the second. As promised, eventually I will publish a full in-depth analysis of all chapters (there are additional chapters in the fifties, from 1986-1993, in 2009, 2010 and 2011).

    Over the years my inquiries at the US government though regular channels have produced little intelligence about the physical audits of the Deep Storage gold. Some departments cooperated at first, but eventually they stopped replying emails or just hang up the phone while I was talking. The second layer of defense was raised when I started submitting FOIAs. Instead of honoring my requests they tried to delay and dodge most appeals. Clearly, the US government prefers not to answer my questions than to flaunt with the audit results.

    However, in 2016 I embraced the motivation to push through and find out how many gold bars were counted, weighed and assayed in between 1993 and 2008, when allegedly the last series of physical audits was conducted. Not surprisingly, zero US government departments could provide me the information I was looking for, but through certain FOIAs I obtained leads to submit new FOIAs, and so on 12 Augustus 2016 I demanded, inter alia, the “memoranda submitted by the US Mint Director’s representative regarding audits of the Mint Schedule of Custodial Gold and Silver Reserves to the Chief Financial Officer drafted from 1993 through 2008”. The Mint replied this request would costs me $3,144.96 dollars because it would take 40 hours to search the respective documents, 8 hours for review, and additional costs would be incurred to duplicate 1,200 pages. I thought this was hogwash – 1,200 pages seemed out of proportion for such memoranda, how hard can it be to find a few pages and how did they know it were going to be 1,200 pages if they had to search 40 hours for it – but decided to start a crowdfunding campaign to collect the money.

    Within 24 hours the campaign was completed and late August 2016 I sent the Mint a check, in the hopes to receive the documents a.s.a.p.. After the Mint pretended the check was missing for a few weeks, they communicated on 28 September 2016 the funds had arrived and they were working to get the requested documents out to me (exhibit 1).

    Exhibit 1. Screenshot email form the US Mint (Jones, Lateau). My FOIA request was originally dated from 1 August 2016, but was revised on 12 August 2016. Jan Nieuwenhuijs is my real name.

    Months past but nothing happened. I sent several emails and called the Mint three times, but time and time again I was maintained with false excuses. Then, finally, on 23 December 2016 the Mint delivered the documents I paid for. Sort of. Instead of 1,200 pages I received 223 redacted pages that contained 68 pages of reports I didn’t ask for and 21 pages that were copied twice. Effectively, I got 134 pages related to my FOIA request.

    When I confronted the Mint I paid $3,144.96 dollars for a meager 134 pages they agreed the costs had been estimated to high and a refund was reasonable. Actually, they told me they never cashed the check. So, quickly I told my bank to cancel the check and ordered my crowdfunding platform to refund all my donors.

    As of now all donors to my crowdfunding campaign should have received their money back (if not, please write me an email, see below for my address). From the bottom of my heart I would like to thank everyone for the loan that made this operation possible1!

    For me a slight doubt remained if the Mint had tried to fend me off by asking a disproportionate amount of money for a few pages that I assume are alphabetically archived, or that they handled my case in all honesty. A skeptical mind would think the former. To find out I read the internal emails of the Mint employees that handled my FOIA. Those are not directly publicly available, but I was told a trick by more experienced FOIA scholars that reached out to me after I published previous blog posts on this subject, to ask the Mint for internal emails through, what else, a Freedom Of Information Act request (exhibit 2).

    Exhibit 2. FOIA asking to obtain email correspondence written or received by Mint employees that was related to my case.

    And it worked! On 10 January 2017 I received all (I hope) emails from the Mint I was looking for. Including one wherein Audit Liaison at the United States Mint Tom Noziglia makes an estimate for the costs of my FOIA request of 12 August 2016. Read below (exhibit 3).

    Exhibit 3. Email by Noziglia to Saunders-Mitchell, Grimsby and Fletcher.

    At first sight it seems Noziglia and his office stick to prudent protocols. But possibly this email is a veil, meant to deceive me if I would ever read it. Actually, yes, I think it’s a cloak and I’ll share my theory.

    Let’s study Noziglia’s LinkedIn page:

    More: https://www.bullionstar.com/blogs/k...ocumentation-the-first-critical-observations/
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
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  2. Mujahideen

    Mujahideen Black Member Midas Member

    Mar 31, 2010
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    It's tungsten anyway.

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