CIA Created 'Demonic' Osama Bin Laden Doll to Counter Terrorist's Influence in Afghanistan

Expand | Collapse
(Photo: REUTERS/Stringer)Former Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in May 1998.

The CIA once considered a plan of developing Osama Bin Laden dolls that turned into a demon when exposed to heat in an attempt to counter Bin Laden's influence on children in Afghanistan.

The agency produced three prototypes of the doll with the help of Donald Levine, the former head executive of the Hasbro toy company. The final prototype of the toy, although it was never released to the public, included an Osama Bin Laden face that, when exposed to heat, melted off to reveal a demonic expression with red and black designs and piercing green eyes. The toy was designed so the evil face would be exposed when heat from a child's hands touched the doll.

The purpose of the toys was to counter Osama Bin Laden's powerful influence on Afghani children and their parents. The 12-inch doll came wearing traditional Afghani clothing and was sold in a cheap box wrapped in plastic. The body of the doll had already been in production in China when Levine partnered with the CIA to superimpose the Bin Laden face.

The Washington Post originally reported on the doll prototypes, which were developed in 2005 and 2006. Although there was some speculation that the dolls had been distributed in Pakistan in 2006, the CIA released a statement clarifying that it had aborted the mission, nicknamed "Devil Eyes," before any of the toys could be produced.

"The action figure idea was proposed and rejected by CIA before it got past the prototype stage," Dean Boyd, CIA spokesman, told CNN. "To our knowledge, there were only three individual action figures ever created and these were merely to show what a final product might look like. After being presented with these examples, the CIA declined to pursue this idea and did not produce or distribute any of these action figures. Furthermore, the CIA has no knowledge of these action figures being produced or distributed by others."

According to The Washington Post, operation "Devil Eyes" was part of a larger mission to use educational material and toys to build goodwill between children in Afghanistan and the U.S. Other products included school supplies, such as pens and notebooks, and games.

Levine, who created the well-known G.I. Joe doll in 1964, died at the age of 86 in Rhode Island just last month.

The plan for the Osama Bin Laden doll was created while the terrorist was still at large. Bin Laden was eventually killed in a U.S. Special Forces raid at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.