Monday, May 06, 2013

Monday WTF Files: The man who sold the Emperor new clothes

This might seem a little out of place here, not being about investigations per se, but I think it is of general interest to those involved in the security industry.

James McCormick has been jailed for 10 years for selling his modern-day version of snake oil in the form of the contains-no-actual-working-parts ADE651 Bomb Detector (and previous models) to such tranquil and trouble-free locales as Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan,Thailand and others.

Not after raking in some £55million though.

And resulting in an unknown number of deaths from bombs the units failed to detect. Actually, failed is not the right word as it implies there might have been some chance at success. Given that the device is powered solely by bullshit, that is exceedingly improbable. You can view a PDF of the specs of the ADE651 here.

Here is a promotional video of McCormick demonstrating the ADE651's effectiveness.

In case you missed it, it seems that the central principal behind the operation of the ADE651 is essentially the same as dowsing. Dowsing being that bullshit method of locating underground water with a rod or sticks. It doesn't really work either.

If you are not familiar with the back-story, check out this video from 2010.


However, McCormick and the ADE651 are not the only contenders for selling exceptionally expensive and utterly useless bomb detection devices. Enter the GT200 which is widely used in Thailand. Widely used even though forensic tests failed to substantiate claims of effectiveness by manufacturer, Global Technical.

Where there is a market I guess there will always be someone willing to cynically exploit it for all it is worth. At any cost.

Now if only I can figure out something along the lines of a foolproof infidelity detector...


  1. I liked the part (in the ad) where he just grabs the "bomb" without checking for booby traps first ;)

    1. Maybe he was wearing his homeopathic booby-trap ward (available separately for the low introductory price of £10,000)?

    2. Hahaha, I need one of those ;)