Ever wonder how so many bombs keep getting through Iraqi security?
If you think the pictures in a promotional video are dramatic, just look at the claims made for the device it promotes.
The “ADE-651” is a metal antenna on a plastic handle, sold as a bomb detector that uses no batteries or electronics, reports CBS News correspondent Richard Roth. According to its British distributor, it can point to hidden drugs, guns or explosives and it’ll work underwater, underground or in the air.
According to the U.S. military, it’s completely useless.
“I can think of no practical application for this beyond party entertainment,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Hal Bidlack.
Yet the Iraqi government has spent at least $85 million for about 2,000 of the so-called bomb detectors, and a training program that teaches troops to shuffle their feet to generate static electricity to make the things work.
Now Britain has just banned export of the devices – and arrested the businessman who’s made a fortune selling them.
Jim McCormick, a former policeman, is accused of fraud.
But the “ADE-651s” are defended by Iraqi officials who backed their purchase. And they’re still in use.
“They’re fine for fooling a 4-year-old at a birthday party, but they’re immoral if they’re trying to save lives at a checkpoint,” said Lt. Col. Bidlack.
An Iraqi security official on Monday defended a bomb-detecting device that Britain banned for export to Iraq because of questions about whether it works, saying it would be a “big mistake” to withdraw it from checkpoints.
The ADE651, made by the British company ATSC, is used at security points across Iraq, including outside the protected Green Zone that includes the Iraqi Parliament and the U.S. and British embassies. Britain halted the export of the machine to Iraq and Afghanistan after a BBC report challenged its effectiveness.
But Col. Hato al-Hashemi, a senior explosives expert at the Iraqi Interior Ministry, said the estimated 2,000 devices used by Iraqi security forces wouldn’t be taken out of service.
“We have great confidence in this device,” Mr. al-Hashemi said. “They have proven their effectiveness in discovering and seizing many car bombs and cars that were loaded with explosives and weapons.”
The hand-held device consists of a swiveling antenna mounted on a hand grip. Mr. al-Hashemi said about 5,000 Iraqi security personnel have been trained on the device since early 2007. He wouldn’t comment on the device’s price or details about Iraq’s deal with ATSC.
Asked if Iraq planned to pull back the devices, Mr. al-Hashemi said: “This would be a big mistake that would create frustration among the security forces and would contribute to the flow of huge amounts of explosives into Baghdad.”
The BBC took the device to a laboratory, which concluded that the key component contained technology used to prevent thefts in stores and wasn’t suitable for detecting explosives.
The findings appeared to back up the U.S. military, which has had concerns about the device for months. In June, the U.S. military distributed a study using laboratory testing and X-ray analysis that found the ADE651 ineffective.
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As if it wasn’t bad enough that the ADE651 doesn’t work at all, the Iraqis paid between $16,500 and $60,000 a unit and, if you watch them take one apart in the video, it’s clear that there’s maybe $20 worth of “parts” used to build them.
/Jim McCormick and anyone else in on this scam should be sent to Afghanistan, equipped with their very own ADE-651 explosive detectors, and made to walk 100 yards in front of NATO convoys
Filed under: Blog Entry | Tagged: ADE-651, ADE651, ATSC, Bomb Detection, Bombs, Britain, Car Bombs, Dowsing, Explosives, Explosives Expert, Export Ban, Fraud, Green Zone, Hal Bidlack, Hato Al-Hashemi, Iraq, Iraqi Interior Ministry, Iraqi Security Official, Jim McCormick, Laboratory Testing, Richard Roth, Security Checkpoint, U.S. Military, X-Ray Analysis | 3 Comments »