Before Osama bin Laden was killed by US forces in 2011, his lingering influence in Afghanistan and Pakistan remained a pressing concern for the CIA. So in 2005, the agency seriously considered a plan that would demonize al Qaeda's leader in the eyes of children everywhere. The plan was to fight bin Laden and his evil ideology with toys.
Specifically, the CIA called upon famed toymaker Donald Levine — the father of G.I. Joe — to produce a terrifying action figure of bin Laden. A special heat-dissolving material was used so that bin Laden's "skin" would peel off and reveal a satanic devil hiding underneath, complete with evil, reptilian green eyes. It's Darth Maul dressed in thwab. The project had a fitting codename: Demon Eyes.
CIA considered plan to demonize bin Laden by giving kids these dolls that hid demon face http://t.co/XA3OWBnmcS pic.twitter.com/TfWEmYvU11— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) June 19, 2014
The CIA even had a few prototypes made up, but now insists it never moved ahead with the idea. "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," a spokesperson told The Washington Post.
Osama bin Laden as the Sith Lord
"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." But another source disputes this, and told the Post that "hundreds" of figures were in fact created as part of a pre-production test and sent off to Karachi, Pakistan. Sadly, Levine can't offer any insight on the bizarre tale; he passed away from cancer in May. In a statement, his family said, "Don Levine was a dedicated Patriot, and proud Korean War veteran. When called on, he was honored to assist our country."