1. Headline
  1. Headline
Image: Philippine President Benigno Aquino III aboard USS Carl Vinson
Jay Morales  /  AP
Philippine President Benigno Aquino III, second from left standing, observes operations on the deck of the USS Carl Vinson on Saturday.
By
updated 5/15/2011 3:18:43 AM ET 2011-05-15T07:18:43

U.S. officials welcomed visitors Sunday to the USS Carl Vinson, from which Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea, but did not discuss the ultra-secretive attack that killed him, reflecting America's concern over possible retaliation.

U.S. defense 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.

Slideshow: After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound (on this page)

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

  1. Stories from
    1. Naughty or Nice? Chrissy Teigen's Christmas Morning PJs Are, Well, Nonexistent
    2. Michael Sam Cut from Dallas Cowboys Practice Squad
    3. Kesha Accused of Previously Denying Abuse by Dr. Luke
    4. Former Washington Post Editor Ben Bradlee Dead at 93
    5. Tina Fey Shares the (Hilarious) Modeling Advice She Swears By at Fashion Shoots

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 on Sunday at the start of a four-day routine port call and goodwill visit.

During the 30-minute ferry ride to the Vinson, U.S. 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 authorized to discuss any operational details that involve Osama bin Laden," Mazengia said. "I'm not trying to say you can't ask, you can."

Video: Bin Laden's son newest US threat? (on this page)

Defense 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. U.S. 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 on Sunday. "It was a friendly visit and we let it stay that way."

Gazmin, a retired general, said he was impressed by the stunning U.S. commando night-time strike that got bin Laden, adding it showed the might of the American military force.

Video: Bush: Bin Laden death 'a great victory' (on this page)

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who said it was his first time to set foot on an aircraft carrier, was impressed as war planes landed and were launched by catapults from the tarmac.

"You can feel the inherent power of these fighter jets," del Rosario said.

In impromptu remarks on the ship, Aquino reaffirmed the "historic, defense and cultural ties" between the United States and the Philippines, one of Washington's oldest and closest Asian allies, presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said.

U.S. special forces have been training and arming Filipino soldiers battling al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines since 2003.

    1. AP sources: Raiders knew mission a one-shot deal
    2. Slate: Is bin Laden's 'porn' worse than his terrorism?
    3. SEAL-mania grips US in wake of bin Laden raid
    4. Kerry: US-Pakistan alliance at 'critical moment'
    5. Bin Laden was logged off, but not al-Qaida
    6. US shows off warship that buried bin Laden
    7. NYT: Cities nationwide heighten vigilance on terror
    8. Pakistan threatens to cut NATO's supply line

The Carl Vinson came from the North Arabian Sea, where it had received a U.S. SEAL team, which carried bin Laden's body after killing the long-wanted al-Qaida leader in a raid on his walled compound near a Pakistani military academy.

Pentagon officials have said that on the carrier, bin Laden's body was placed in a "weighted bag," an officer made religious remarks and the remains were put on a flat board and tipped into the sea.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that during a recent meeting with members of the team that attacked bin Laden, they expressed concerns about the security of their families.

Interactive: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life (on this page)

American officials agreed shortly after bin Laden was killed not to release any operational details on the commando assault, Gates said, but added "that fell apart — the next day."

"We are looking at what measures can be taken to pump up the security," Gates said.

The U.S. Embassy in Manila said Carl Vinson's service members would take part in sports events, seminars and community assistance projects with their Philippine counterparts.

The visit will contribute about $4.65 million to the local economy from port fees and crew expenditures, the embassy said in a statement.

Philippine police have said they will step up security in Manila, where left-wing groups have threatened to stage protests against the U.S. warship's visit.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Bin Laden's son newest US threat?

Timeline: A timeline of Osama bin Laden's life

Considered enemy No. 1 by the U.S., the Saudi millionaire is the perpetrator behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Click on key dates to learn more about the founder of al-Qaida, an international terror network.

Photos: The compound

loading photos...
  1. Pakistani boys while demolition takes place on the compound where Osama bin Laden was slain in 2011 in the northwestern town of Abbottabad on Feb. 26, 2012.

    More photos from Abbottabad one year after Osama bin Laden (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. An aerial view shows the residential area of Abbottabad, Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. commandos. (Asif Hassan / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A general view of the town of Abbottabad, May 6. Bin Laden was living in a large house close to a military academy in this garrison town, a two-and-a-half hour-drive from the capital, Islamabad. (Khaqan Khawer / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Supporters of Pakistani religious party Jamaat-e-Islami rally to condemn the killing of bin Laden, in Abbottabad on May 6. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A Pakistani woman photographs her daughter on May , at a gate of the compound where bin Laden was caught and killed. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. School girls pass by armed Pakistani policemen guarding the sealed entrance to the compound in Abbottabad, May 5, in which bin Laden had been living. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Part of a damaged helicopter rests in the compound after U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed bin Laden, May 2, in a photo made available on May 4. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Boys herd sheep past the compound where U.S. Navy SEAL commandos killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad May 5. (Akhtar Soomro / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Pakistani security officials arrive at the Osama bin Laden compound in Abbottabad on Wednesday, May 4. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Local residents gather outside a burned section of bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad. (Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A Pakistani police officer gestures at a checkpoint along a road leading to a house where bin Laden was captured and killed in Abbottabad. Area residents were still confused and suspicious about bin Laden's death, which took place before dawn on Monday. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Pakistani children look out from a high vantage point at bin Laden's compound on Tuesday, May 3. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Pakistan army troops remove canvas screens from outside the compound's house. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Neighbors and news media gather around the compound, right, after authorities ease security around the property. (Aqeel Ahmed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. A satellite image, taken June 15, 2005, shows the Abbottabad compound, center, where bin Laden was killed in on Monday. (DigitalGlobe via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. A Pakistani soldier secures the compound. (T. Mughal / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. The compound is seen in flames after it was attacked early May 2 in this still image taken from cellphone video footage. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Part of a damaged U.S. MH-60 helicopter lies the compound. The helicopter was destroyed by U.S. forces after a mechanical failure left it unable to take off. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. A still image from video obtained by ABC News shows blood stains in the interior of the house where bin Laden was killed. (ABC News via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Aerial views released by the Department of Defense show the area in Abbottabad in 2004, left, before the house was built, and in 2011, right. (Department of Defense via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. A graphic released by the Department of Defense shows the compound where bin Laden was killed. (Department of Defense via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Pakistani soldiers and police officers patrol near the house, background, where bin Laden had lived. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. The hideout of bin Laden is seen the day after his death. (Farooq Naeem / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Students look toward the compound from a nearby religious school in Abbottabad. (Faisal Mahmood / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Pakistani security officials survey the walls of the compound where bin Laden was killed. The outer walls were between 10 and 18 feet high. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Pakistani soldiers stand guard near the compound May 2. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Boys collect pieces of metal from a wheat field outside bin Laden's house, seen in the background, on May 3. People showed off small parts of what appeared to be a U.S. helicopter that the U.S. says malfunctioned and was blown up by the American team as it retreated. (Anjum Naveed / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Pakistani security officials stand guard at the main entrance to the compound on May 3. (MD Nadeem / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. An image from video seized from the walled compound of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, and released by the U.S. Department of Defense, shows Osama bin Laden watching TV. He is said to have spent his last weeks in a house divided, amid wives riven by suspicions. On the top floor, sharing his bedroom, was his youngest wife and favorite. The trouble came when his eldest wife showed up and moved into the bedroom on the floor below. (Department of Defense via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image:
    Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images
    Above: Slideshow (29) After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound - The compound
  2. Image:
    Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (81) After the raid: Inside bin Laden's compound - World reaction
  3. Image:
    Timothy A. Clary / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (81) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - World reaction
  4. Image:
    Aamir Qureshi / AFP - Getty Images
    Slideshow (29) World reacts to death of Osama bin Laden - The compound

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments

More on TODAY.com

  1. Frank Ryland

    Watch this paralyzed groom walk down the aisle at his wedding

    10/21/2014 11:00:13 PM +00:00 2014-10-21T23:00:13
  1. Courtesy of Beau Coffron

    This dad's spooky Halloween lunches will wow you

    10/21/2014 7:31:19 PM +00:00 2014-10-21T19:31:19
  1. Jason Merritt / Getty Images

    Jennifer Garner: No one asks Ben about work-family balance

    10/21/2014 8:58:13 PM +00:00 2014-10-21T20:58:13
  1. Tim Rooke/rex / AP

    Kate's back! Duchess Kate appears for first time since pregnancy news

    10/21/2014 11:57:43 AM +00:00 2014-10-21T11:57:43
  1. Ebola outbreak: West Africans must arrive at 5 US airports

    All travelers from Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa must pass through one of five major U.S. airports with heightened entry screening before entering the country, the Department of Homeland Security said Tuesday.

    10/21/2014 4:22:36 PM +00:00 2014-10-21T16:22:36