The CIA recently admitted to embarking on a secret mission, code named “Devil Eyes,” to create a toy action figure.
In 2005, the U.S. began developing custom Osama Bin Laden action figures to be shipped to South Asia as anti-Al-Qaeda propaganda, but the project was called off before any of the figures made it overseas, reported The Washington Post.
The prototypes feature the face of Osama bin Laden. His face was painted with heat dissolving material, which was designed to peel off and reveal a demon-like figure with piercing green eyes and dark black face paint.
The goal was to scare children and their parents so much, they would reject bin Laden.
The CIA reached out to the creator of the popular G.I Joe toy, Donald Levine. He was particularly sought after for his network of contacts in Asia, especially in China, where the toys would be manufactured.
CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani told the Washington Post only three individual action figures were ever created, and those were only prototypes. “After being presented with these examples, the CIA declined to pursue this idea and did not produce or distribute any of these action figures,” said Trapani.
Project “Devil Eyes” may not have survived, but the U.S. has secretly distributed propaganda on other occasions. During the Cold War, the CIA published literature for distribution behind the Iron Curtain and created free radio stations. And before the American invasion of Haiti in 1994, the CIA distributed soccer balls to demonstrate U.S. generosity.
See footage of one of the figurines below. One of them is still at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia.