America shows off warship that buried bin Laden

Lips Sealed: Defence officials keep mum on Abbottabad attack

US defence officials were taking measures to ensure the security of the operatives involved in the May 2 assault on a walled fortress in Abbottabad, Pakistan, particularly the Navy SEAL team that killed the world's most wanted terrorist.

President Benigno Aquino III, accompanied by senior members of his Cabinet and military chief of staff, were flown to the massive aircraft carrier yesterday as it travelled in the South China Sea toward the Philippines, a key Asian anti-terrorism ally.

A group of journalists were invited to tour and talk to sailors aboard the 97,000-ton Carl Vinson, which anchored off Manila along with three other warships today at the start of a four-day routine port call and goodwill visit.

During the 30-minute ferry ride to the Vinson, US Embassy spokeswoman Wossenyelesh Mazengia told about two dozen journalists that nobody aboard the carrier would talk about bin Laden.

"No one on the Vinson is authorised to discuss any operational details that involve Osama bin Laden," Mazengia said. "I'm not trying to say you can't ask, you can."
Defence Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Aquino and his entourage were given a tour of the warship and an exhibition of fighter jets landing and taking off from the Carl Vinson, including one flown by a Filipino-American pilot.

Aquino, at one point, sat on the cockpit of an F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet at a hangar bay as sailors snapped pictures. He talked and posed for souvenir pictures with many beaming Filipino-American sailors, Gazmin said.

But the one thing on everybody's mind, bin Laden's burial from the Carl Vinson just 12 days earlier, did not come up.

US Navy officials did not touch the sensitive subject and Aquino's group saw it fit not to ask questions, Gazmin said.

"We did not ask for a briefing because it was too sensitive," Gazmin told The Associated Press today. "It was a friendly visit and we let it stay that way."

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
GET IT
Comments (+)