Skip to main content

CIA toyed with idea of Osama bin Laden doll to turn Afghan children from leader

By Mary Kay Mallonee, CNN
updated 6:06 PM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
In 2006, the CIA with the help of a toymaker in China developed three prototypes of an Osama bin Laden action figure doll.
In 2006, the CIA with the help of a toymaker in China developed three prototypes of an Osama bin Laden action figure doll.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The CIA developed prototypes for an Osama bin Laden action figure in 2005
  • The agency received help from former head of Hasbro, who helped develop G.I. Joe
  • The scary dolls were meant to turn Afghan children against the al Qaeda leader

Washington (CNN) -- The CIA has revealed it once considered creating and using a very different type of weapon in the fight against terrorism: a doll.

An Osama bin Laden action figure with an evil-looking face.

The spy agency began quietly developing the bin Laden doll in 2005, as first reported by The Washington Post, and recruited the help of the former head of the Hasbro toy company, Donald Levine.

Seen here are two sample heads of the Osama bin Laden action figure doll.
Seen here are two sample heads of the Osama bin Laden action figure doll.

Levine helped develop the G.I. Joe action figure.

The CIA's proposed plan, according to the newspaper, was to produce the dolls, with their bright red faces and spooky green eyes, and hand them out to children in Afghanistan in hopes of turning them away from the al Qaeda leader.

The final version had the faces of the figures painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a demon bin Laden.
The final version had the faces of the figures painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a demon bin Laden.

But the agency aborted the plan after reviewing three prototypes of the doll, a CIA spokesman told CNN.

"The action figure idea was proposed and rejected by CIA before it got past the prototype stage," said Dean Boyd, CIA spokesman. "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."

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT