From CBS’s 60 Minutes, with thanks to Sparta:
(CBS) Fifteen years ago, Osama bin Laden sent one of his operatives to the United States to buy and bring back two-dozen .50-caliber rifles, a gun that can kill someone from over a mile away and even bring down an airplane.
In spite of all the recent efforts to curb terrorism, bin Laden could do the same thing today, because buying and shipping the world’s most powerful sniper rifle is not as difficult as you might think.
Two months ago, Correspondent Ed Bradley reported on just how powerful the gun is. New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly had a sharpshooter fire the department’s own .30-caliber sniper rifle and the bullets bounced off a half-inch-thick plate of steel. Then, the marksman fired the .50-caliber sniper rifle, and the bullets blew right through the steel plate.
Now, you’ll hear from a gunrunner who, just a few years ago, was able to outfit a guerrilla army in Kosovo with those powerful weapons. He was willing to talk to 60 Minutes, because now he thinks what he did was much too easy.
The gunrunner’s name is Florin Krasniqi, and he is seen providing a new shipment of weapons to Albanian rebels, who are about to smuggle them over the mountains into Kosovo. After a few days’ journey on horseback, the guns will end up in the hands of a guerrilla force known as the Kosovo Liberation Army, which has been fighting for independence from Serbia for nearly a decade.
Krasniqi took these guns to his family’s home in Kosovo. Most of them were easy to get in Albania, but not the .50-caliber rifles. “This is, we get from the home of the brave and the land of the free, as we would like to say,” says Krasniqi, who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y….
Krasniqi came to America in 1989. He was smuggled across the Mexican border in the trunk of a car with just $50 in his pocket. Today, he’s an American citizen, and the owner of a highly successful roofing business.
“This is what I do for a living,” says Krasniqi. “This is how we earn the money in New York. There’s a large Albanian-American community in the New York City area.”
I guess gun-running is just a hobby for him.
What was Krasniqi’s largest shipment of .50-caliber rifles to Kosovo? “One was on an airplane that he filled up with weapons,” says Sullivan. “And I think there were about a hundred guns in there,. 100 .50-caliber rifles.”
According to Sullivan, the gunrunners transported the guns on a truck to New York’s Kennedy airport and hid them inside shipments of food and clothing destined for refugees.
“They put the palettes into a plane. Nothing gets X-rayed,” says Sullivan. “It’s wrapped up as humanitarian aid.