For more than a decade, the US has used drones, satellites, spies, informants and tracking devices to thwart al-Qaeda in Pakistan.
The CIA also set in motion a plan to wage war with toys.
Beginning in about 2005, the agency began developing a custom-made Osama bin Laden action figure, according to sources. The faces were painted with a heat-dissolving material, designed to peel off and reveal a red-faced bin Laden who looked like a demon, with piercing green eyes and black facial markings.
The goal was simply to frighten people. causing them to turn away from the actual bin Laden.
The code-name was "Devil Eyes", and to create them the CIA turned to one of the best minds in the toy business, the sources said.
The toymaker was Donald Levine, a former Hasbro executive who developed the wildly popular "G.I. Joe" action figure.
Levine, who died last month aged 86, was sought out because he had done business in China for many years and had the means to have the figures discreetly made.
It has been disputed how many were delivered, but a person involved in China said hundreds of the toys were made as part of a pre-production run and sent to the city of Karachi in 2006.
The CIA disputed that, saying the project lapsed soon after the prototypes were developed.
"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," CIA spokesman Ryan Trapani said.