The Central Intelligence Agency secretly developed an Osama bin Laden action figure whose face peeled off to reveal a scary devil beneath, according to an account first published this week in The Washington Post.
The 2005 effort was meant to produce a toy that could be distributed in Afghanistan. The point was to frighten children and their parents and lower their esteem for the then-hidden Al Qaeda leader, said the Post.
The project was code-named “Devil Eyes” and progressed to at least the prototype stage. Some sources said a substantial number of the figures – whose face reportedly changed when exposed to heat – were actually produced at a factory in China.
Does that sound like an off-beat approach to psychological warfare operations? Sure, but it also sounds like the CIA. In the past the agency has occasionally hatched humorous, bizarre, or downright wacky plans to fulfill a variety of missions. In the 1960s and ‘70s the orders for these things often came directly from the CIA’s cadre of top career officials.