You’ve heard of Action Man and, of course, Barbie’s toy boy Ken, but would you buy an Osama bin Laden doll?
The Washington Post Thursday reported that the CIA, with the help of a China-based toymaker, developed three prototypes of an Osama bin Laden action figure doll in 2006.
The agency reportedly planned to wage the ideological war with toys, and had designed an Osama bin Laden action figure with faces painted with a heat-dissolving material.
According to sources close to the project, who spoke to The Washington Post, the material would peel off to unmask a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, complete with piercing green eyes.
The code-name for the project was “Devil Eyes.” To manufacture the product, the CIA reportedly turned to toymaker Donald Levine, the former Hasbro executive who was heavily involved in the creation of the wildly popular G.I. Joe toys.
Levine died in May, after a battle with cancer. Responding to questions about his work on the bin Laden toys, his family said in a statement: “Don Levine was a dedicated Patriot, and proud Korean War veteran. When called on, he was honored to assist our country.”
It is unclear how many figurines were actually delivered, but the newspaper reported that “hundreds of the toys — one of which was seen by The Washington Post — were made as part of a pre-production run and sent on a freighter to the Pakistani city of Karachi in 2006.”
The CIA commented that the project was discontinued shortly after the prototypes were developed.
“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,” said CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani. “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, CIA has no knowledge of these action figures being produced or distributed by others.”
Levine reportedly developed prototypes before deciding on a standard 12-inch figure with the unique facial features.
The final prototype was dressed in traditional garb, packaged in a box and presented to the CIA for approval, reported the newspaper.