by Stewart Stogel
September 12, 2001
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New York (CNSNews.com) - As New Yorkers try to recover from the attack on the World Trade Center, financial markets have yet to feel the full impact of the terrorist action.
Far beneath the shattered buildings, screaming ambulances and dazed New Yorkers on the streets of Manhattan are two of the world's largest gold depositories.
One belongs to the US Federal Reserve Bank; another to a group of financial institutions.
The Fed's gold reserve is housed 100 ft. beneath its headquarters, only blocks from the World Trade Center, whose twin towers collapsed into mammoth heaps of rubble after two hijacked jetliners were crashed into the buildings.
The Fed boasts that its gold depository spans the length of two football fields and contains more gold than any other vault on earth.
Its deposits are believed to surpass the value of the legendary Fort Knox gold reserves in the mid-1980s.
While the Fed declines to release the total value of gold on deposit, it is unofficially estimated at more than $25 billion. But the gold stored in that facility does not belong to the U.S.; it's owned by foreign nations, including Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
At the World Trade Center itself is another, smaller gold storage facility owned by a group of commercial banks.
When Islamic radicals bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, the New York Police Department and FBI at one point thought that the attack might have been a raid on the gold depository.
The explosion eight years ago was close to the vault, which withstood the explosion. It's not known how much gold was kept in the World Trade Center vaults in 1993, but it's believed as much as $1 billion in Kuwaiti gold eight years ago.
It's also believed that the amount gold currently buried beneath the debris of the World Trade Center today far exceeds the 1993 levels. Kuwaiti officials in New York declined to discuss the matter.
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