Strange: the Washington Post reports that the CIA, with help from a toy executive known "the father of the G.I. Joe," once built prototypes of sinister 12-inch Osama Bin Laden action figures meant for distribution to families in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Stranger: the Bin Laden figures' faces were painted with a material that dissolved under heat to reveal a green-eyed, red-faced devil Bin Laden who looked a bit like Star Wars character Darth Maul.
The apparent intent was to make children scared of Osama Bin Laden, and though it doesn't seem that any of the figures were ultimately distributed, it's not clear how far along the plan got before being shelved:
There’s a dispute over how many of the figurines, if any, were ultimately delivered. A person with direct knowledge of the project in China said 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 former Hasbro executive who reportedly assisted the CIA on the project, Donald Levine, died just a few weeks ago.
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