WASHINGTON: Security guards at the Karachi airport were using their own version of a fake bomb detector made by a British con artist, the Western media reports.

The fake detector, known as ADE 65, was made by a British con artist Jim McCormick, who earned more than 50 million pounds by selling his device to unsuspecting security agencies around the world.

Last year, Mr McCormick was convicted of fraud by a court in London.

The court determined that Mr McCormick’s detectors, which cost up to $40,000 each, were completely ineffectual and lacked any grounding in science.

Pakistan, Iraq and Georgia were among the main buyers of this device, the media reported. Mr McCormick sold more than 6,000 pieces to Iraq alone.

The New York Times was the first to discover the fraud in Iraq in 2009 and confronted bomb squad commander Major General Jehad al-Jabiri with evidence of the ADE 651’s fraudulence.

The Iraqis, however, insisted that the device worked and continued to use it.

Dawn reported in January 2010 that security personnel at various Pakistani airports were also using the fake detector.

And The Guardian reported on Monday that Pakistani security officials were still using a device of their own design that operated on the same principle as ADE 65.

Mr McCormick claimed that the device included a telescopic radio aerial, attached by a hinge to a plastic handgrip. When used by a “properly trained” operator, who must first sensitise it to the “molecular frequency” of explosives, it was supposed to point out bombs by swinging towards them.

The US Justice Department, however, has warned against buying a variety of products that claim to detect explosives at a distance with a portable device, insisting that they could not detect bombs.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2014

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