Have Die Hard-style criminal masterminds made off with part of the world's biggest stash of gold? Probably not, but the federal government has been quietly double-checking its holdings in the New York Federal Reserve's vault anyway, the Los Angeles Times finds. The fortress deep below Manhattan holds close to a quarter of the world's official gold reserves, including 34,000 or so bars belonging to Uncle Sam—more than in Fort Knox.
The inventory check, which began in January, involves weighing the bars and drilling into several hundred of them for samples. The results of the audit will be released later this year, and are expected to show that "Goldfinger didn't sneak in at night" and steal gold, quips a former top Fed official. But some, including Ron Paul, won't be satisfied until there is an independent audit of all US gold. "If the gold is there and everything is in order, they should welcome an audit," he says.