Dick Cheney- Corporate Criminal


Soldiers Die, CEOs Prosper

by Derrick Z. Jackson

More than 2,600 US soldiers have died in Iraq. July's toll for Iraqi civilians was 3,500, the deadliest month of the US occupation. Iraq's civil war is on pace to kill 25,000 to 30,000 civilians by year's end. If you add in the tens of thousands of deaths from the 2003 invasion (we do not know the exact number because the Pentagon won't comment), researchers will inevitably say that the body count has crossed 100,000.

All of this madness to stop a madman, Saddam Hussein.

The litany of US mistakes and excessive force has the Pentagon commissioning at least two secret strategy studies in Afghanistan and Iraq. ``This is a struggle for the soul of the Army," said Colonel Peter Mansoor, the head of the Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Center.

Just as odorous, a mountain of corporate cash grows next to the piles of bodies. In this bizarre war where Iraqi civilians fear both suicide bombers and the United States, the biggest sacrifice that President Bush asked of American civilians was to get on a plane and show those terrorists a thing or two by going to Disney World.

Defense contractors took that request to a logical extreme. They built their own fantasy land.

There is no evidence of a contractor having a soul in the 13th annual Executive Excess CEO survey by the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, and the Boston-based United for a Fair Economy. The report found that 34 defense CEOs have been paid nearly $1 billion since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

As soldiers have died in displaying personal patriotism, the pay gap between soldiers and defense CEOs has exploded. Before 9/11, the gap between CEOs of publicly traded companies and army privates was already a galling 190 to 1. Today, it is 308 to 1. The average army private makes $25,000 a year. The average defense CEO makes $7.7 million.

``Did this surprise us? No, because we've been watching since Sept. 11," said Betsy Leondar-Wright, communications director for United for a Fair Economy. ``While the rest of us were worrying about terrorism and mourning the people who died, the CEOs were maneuvering their companies to take advantage of fear and changing oil supply, not just for competition but for personal enrichment."

The top profiteers after 9/11 were the CEOs of United Technologies ($200 million), General Dynamics ($65 million), Lockheed Martin ($50 million), and Halliburton ($49 million). Other firms where CEO pay the last four years added up to $25 million to $45 million were Textron, Engineered Support Systems, Computer Sciences, Alliant Techsystems, Armor Holding, Boeing, Health Net, ITT Industries, Northrop Grumman, Oshkosh Truck, URS, and Raytheon.

While Army privates died overseas earning $25,000 a year, David Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of body-armor maker DHB, made $192 million in stock sales in 2004. He staged a reported $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter. The 2005 pay package for Halliburton CEO David Lesar, head of the firm that most symbolizes the occupation's waste, overcharges, and ghost charges on no-bid contracts, was $26 million, according to the report's analysis of federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

``Those examples take the cake, especially because it's all related to their government contracts, which is money straight out of the taxpayer's pocket," Leondar-Wright said.

The Executive Excess report, with the help of the Wall Street Journal's 2006 survey of executive compensation, made similar observations of oil executives as their firms enjoy record profits during war. The pay gap between the average oil and gas CEO and the average oil worker is 518 to 1. The general national CEO to worker gap is 411 to 1. The report said that the typical oil construction laborer would have to work 4,279 years to match the $95 million pay last year for Valero Energy CEO William Greehey.

This is so out of line that the authors of the Executive Excess report recommend wartime pay restraints for defense CEOs and a permanent congressional watchdog panel for contract fraud and waste. Companies that cannot adhere to restraints should be ineligible for contracts, they said.

The report said ``democracies decay when one segment of society flourishes at another's expense." Leondar-Wright said, ``It is now at the point where we have lost any sense of proportion. There is no sense of shared sacrifice, no sense that we're all in this together." Spreading democracy to Iraq is far-fetched when defense and oil CEOs speed its decay at home. They are all in it for themselves, at our expense.


United States Of Cheney

Aug. 29, 2006
(The American Prospect) This column was written by Robert Kuttner.


George W. Bush has been faulted in some quarters for taking an extended vacation while the Middle East festers. It doesn't much matter; the man running the country is Vice President Dick Cheney.

When historians look back on the multiple assaults on our constitutional system of government in this era, Cheney's unprecedented role will come in for overdue notice. Cheney's shotgun mishap, when he accidentally sprayed his host with birdshot, has gotten more media attention than has his control of the government.

Historically, the vice president's job was to ceremonially preside over the Senate, attend second-tier foreign funerals, and be prepared for the president to die. Students are taught that John Nance Garner, Franklin Roosevelt's first vice president, compared the job to a bucket of warm spit (and historians say spit was not the word the pungent Texan actually used).

Recent vice presidents Walter Mondale and Al Gore were given more authority than most, but there was no doubt that the president was in charge.
Cheney is in a class by himself. The administration's grand strategy and its implementation are the work of Cheney -- sometimes Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, sometimes Cheney and political director Karl Rove.

Cheney has planted aides in major Cabinet departments, often over the objection of a Cabinet secretary, to make sure his policies are carried out. He sits in on the Senate Republican caucus, to stamp out any rebellions. Cheney loyalists from the Office of the Vice President dominate interagency planning meetings.

The Iraq war is the work of Cheney and Rumsfeld. The capture of the career civil service is pure Cheney. The disciplining of Congress is the work of Cheney and Rove. The turning over of energy policy to the oil companies is Cheney. The extreme secrecy is Cheney and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

If Cheney were the president, more of this would be smoked out because the press would be paying attention. The New York Times' acerbic columnist Maureen Dowd regularly makes sport of Cheney's dominance, and there are plenty of jokes (Bush is a heartbeat away from the presidency). But you can count serious newspaper or magazine articles on Cheney's operation on the fingers of one hand. One of the first was by Bob Dreyfuss writing in the Prospect -- "Vice Squad," on all the vice-president's men, which ran in our May issue. Another notable example is Charlie Savage's important May 28th piece in The Boston Globe on Cheney operative David Addington, the architect and chief reviewer of legislation for "signing statements." The most comprehensive was Jane Mayer's fine piece in the July 3 New Yorker on Addington.

Cheney's power is matched only by his penchant for secrecy. When Dreyfuss requested the names of people who serve on the vice president's staff, he was told this was classified information. Former staffers for other departments provided Dreyfuss with names. This journalism requires a lot of hard work, but it is gettable because so many people in government have been sandbagged by the Cheney operation and are willing to provide information.

So secretive is Cheney (and so incurious the media) that when his chief of staff, Irving Lewis Libby, was implicated in the leaked identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson, reporters who rushed to look Libby up on Nexis and Google found that Libby had barely rated previous press attention.

Why does this matter? Because if the man actually running the government is out of the spotlight, the administration and its policies are far less accountable.

When George W. Bush narrowly defeated John Kerry in 2004, many commentators observed that Bush was the fellow with whom you would rather have a beer. It's an accurate and unflattering comment on the American electorate -- but then who wants to have a beer with Cheney? The public may not know the details of his operation, but voters intuitively recoil from him.

Bush's popularity ratings are now under 40 percent, beer or no, reflecting dwindling confidence in where he is taking the country. But Cheney's ratings are stuck around 20 percent, far below that of any president.

If Cheney were the actual president, not just the de facto one, he simply could not govern with the same set of policies and approval ratings of 20 percent. The media focuses relentless attention on the president, on the premise that he is actually the chief executive. But for all intents and purposes, Cheney is chief, and Bush is more in the ceremonial role of the queen of England.

Yet the press buys the pretense of Bush being "the decider," and relentlessly covers Bush -- meeting with world leaders, cutting brush, holding press conferences, while Cheney works in secret, largely undisturbed. So let's take half the members of the overblown White House press corps, which has almost nothing to do anyway, and send them over to Cheney Boot Camp for Reporters. They might learn how to be journalists again, and we might learn who is running the government.


Cheney can't scare me anymore


A recent analysis of President Bush's popularity poll numbers startled me.

It noted, with apparent surprise, that Bush's approval rating didn't rise noticeably after the announcement that the British had foiled a terrorist plot to destroy 10 transatlantic passenger jets in flight from England to America.

I wondered, ``Was it supposed to rise?''

The perception that Bush's popularity grows as the threat of terrorism rises remains a powerful one, particularly with Vice President and chief White House ideologue Dick Cheney. If news reports are correct, Cheney both pressured the British to reveal their investigation earlier than they felt necessary, then used this prior knowledge to try to frighten U.S. voters inclined to support anti-Iraq war candidates like Ned Lamont, who upset Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut's recent Democratic primary.

This perception is built on the notion that a frightened, trembling America is a pro-Bush America. It certainly seemed so in the period after Sept. 11, when most Americans gave Bush high marks for his war on terror. And, as reflected by a compliant Congress, they also gave him carte blanche to fight it.

Americans wise up

But that was back when most Americans hadn't yet grasped that conventional warfare isn't the prescription for fighting terrorism. Kicking butt militarily felt real good for a while. That was before it became clear the extremist enemy had devised a counter-strategy previously tested against the Soviet Union: Bog down the opposing military machine far from home, then wear it down psychologically through expensive and bloody attrition.

Americans aren't falling for this ''only more war can protect you from the evil terrorists'' routine as easily as they once did, judging from Bush's abysmal popularity poll figures hovering in the one-in-three range. It has taken three-and-a-half years, the deaths of 2,600 U.S. military personnel and the wounding of 19,000 others, the waste of $400 billion perfectly good dollars, escalating worldwide terrorism and a virtual civil war in Iraq, but polls suggest even patriotic self-delusion eventually wears thin without evidence and results.

The foiled terrorist plot against transatlantic jetliners should have reminded Americans that yet another of the Bushian rationales for war in Iraq has fizzled. Bush and his cohorts have said it's better to ''fight the terrorists over there than have to fight them over here.'' Leaving aside the astounding gall of such a remark -- ''Let's go trash someone else's country and cause the deaths of tens of thousands of its people so we can live, shop and play in peace'' -- the comment is illogical.

Time to face facts

Terrorists don't fight over territory, as do conventional armies. They seek targets -- people -- and thus could strike anywhere people live or travel. All our efforts in Iraq failed to deter this plot; only the domestic vigilance of the British prevented this replay of Sept. 11. It's past time we faced facts: The U.S. invasion of Iraq and our continued presence there has done absolutely nothing to enhance American security -- and almost certainly has made us and the rest of the world less safe.

The neoconservative propaganda machine maintains that only supporters of the Bush team truly want to fight terrorists, while Democrats and progressives, for some mysterious reason, don't. Slowly, the American people are seeing that the issue isn't -- and never was -- who in America wants to fight terrorism. Rather, the issue is who among us understands the true nature of the fight. The neocon-controlled GOP opted for global military domination, but all that did was raise worldwide fears that America desires global military domination. That played right into the propaganda hands of our fundamentalist foes, and disenchanted many of our allies.

The more-promising strategy would be to hunt down terrorist operatives worldwide using police-style tactics, while cooling domestic passions, working in concert with allied nations. Patiently making friends of civilians around the world would encourage them to repel the terrorist organizations seeking to hide among them.

I'm not sure we're quite ready for this approach, but for the first time since Sept. 11, I see signs that America is gradually coming to its senses. The country is like the addicted gambler who, instead of continuing his doomed search for a game he can win, finally begins to wonder if the real problem is his presence in the casino.

Robert Steinback is a former columnist for The Miami Herald, now on a one-year sabbatical.


Dick Cheney wins Nobel prize

Nobel Prize for Dick? (El-Paso,Texas) Unconfirmed sources report the US Vice President Dick Cheney will be awarded a Nobel prize. The news reached Cheney as he was delivering one of his hallmark "Democrats are supporting Al-Qaeda" tirades. The Vice President was "pleasantly surprised" at the news and he even flashed a smile to the surprise of all attending the event. The upbeat mood did not last long, soon after as it was revealed the award was not Alfred Nobel prize, it was in fact the Ricky "Stubbs" Nobel prize for "Shit Talking Texas Rubbish".

Slightly less well know than "Alfred" Nobel, Ricky "Stubbs" Nobel was a fast talking El-Paso used car salesmen famous for rapid fire rhetoric and economy with the truth. The fans and victims of Ricky "Stubbs" Nobel now honor his memory with an annual awards presentation.

The "Stubbs Nobels" winners do not receive cash prizes. Depending on the category won the award may maybe anything from a case of beer to a savage beating with tire iron. The award for the "Shit Talking Texas Rubbish" division was 2 bottles of Jack Daniel's Whiskey and a clubbing with a 2 by 4. Apparently several dozen attendees volunteered to make the official presentation to Vice president Cheney.

While the Vice President was unable to attend the award ceremony do to safety and security concerns, many other "Stubbs Nobel" winners did attend. Ann Counter received the "She nags worse than my wife award" again, while George W. Bush was awarded the "Will the Moron ever learn" lifetime achievement award.


Send a Message to Slanderer Cheney

From www.tedkennedy.com :

There are 146,587 terrorist supporters living in the state of Connecticut according to Vice President Dick Cheney -- the number of Ned Lamont voters.

He claims they're encouraging "the Al Qaida" types who want to "break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task" in Iraq.

Cheney's gone too far. His disgraceful declaration of war on Ned Lamont supporters is an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.

We can't stand by while Republicans like Cheney slander the people of Connecticut and millions of other Americans nationwide who are showing up at the polls to reject the failed record of the Bush Administration.

I thought you might like the opportunity to send your own message to the Vice President. You can send it here:


Cheney wants people to believe that anyone who questions the Bush Administration's misguided policies is in cahoots with the terrorists.

But the facts are clear.

The Administration's extremist agenda has drained our resources and stretched our troops. This made the war on terrorism hard to win and made America more hated in the world.

The American people want more than vicious fear-mongering from our leaders. They want realistic policies, accountability for failures, and -- most of all -- a new direction for America.

It's time for Dick Cheney to admit he went too far. Demand that the vice president apologize for his offensive remarks:


Let's recognize a few truths: Lamont voters did not allow Osama bin Laden to escape in the mountains of Afghanistan.

Lamont voters did not mislead the American people into war with Iraq.

Lamont voters did not refuse to admit their mistakes. They did not vow to "stay the course" while more and more Americans die and Iraq descends into civil war.

Dick Cheney and Republicans of his ilk disrespect the very nature of our democracy when the results are inconvenient for them. But despite this unprecedented grab for executive power, they don't have the ability to decide elections.

The vote in Connecticut proves that free and open elections still exist -- and millions of Democrats around the country are ready to go to the ballot box in the coming months and put America back on track.

Thank you for you support.


Senator Edward M. Kennedy


Plame lawyer plans to force Cheney, Rove testimony

16 Aug 2006 00:06:34 GMT
Source: Reuters
By Gina Keating

LOS ANGELES, Aug 15 (Reuters) - A lawyer plans to use a legal precedent that allowed President Bill Clinton to be sued while in office to force Vice President Dick Cheney and presidential adviser Karl Rove to testify in a lawsuit brought by former CIA operative Valerie Plame and her husband.

California attorney Joseph Cotchett said he will ask a federal court to order Cheney, his ex-chief of staff Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Rove to testify in depositions about their role in disclosing her classified status.

The civil lawsuit accuses them and others of conspiring to publicly identify Plame as a CIA agent to punish her husband, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, for writing in an op-ed piece that the Bush administration twisted intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war.

Cotchett, who took over as trial counsel in Plame's case on Tuesday, said legal precedent for whether Cheney and the others could claim legal immunity in the case comes, in part, from Paula Jones' sexual harassment case against Clinton.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court said in a unanimous ruling that neither Clinton "or any other official has an immunity that extends beyond the scope of any action taken in an official capacity."

In order to be dismissed from the case or avoid testifying, Cotchett said, lawyers for Cheney and the other men would have to argue that they were acting on government business if they are found to have leaked Plame's name to the media.

Federal law makes it a crime to knowingly reveal the identity of a covert agent.

A hearing on motions to dismiss the case and on immunity for the defendants are expected in a month or two, Cotchett said.

The lawsuit, filed last month in U.S. District Court in Washington, came after Libby's indictment last October on charges of obstruction of justice and perjury in an ongoing federal investigation into who leaked Plame's identity to the media in 2003. He is so far the only person criminally charged in the case.

The CIA-leak case flared after Wilson accused the administration of leaking his wife's name to the media after he criticized the government in a New York Times opinion piece.

Rove was also named as a source by conservative columnist Robert Novak, who first revealed Plame as a CIA operative.

Cotchett, a longtime Democratic Party supporter and legal adviser, is best known for winning a $3.3 billion jury verdict in a case involving the failure of Lincoln Savings and Loan in the 1980s.

Court documents show that Cheney has hired Emmet Flood, a lawyer from Clinton's impeachment defense team, to represent him in the Plame case.


Did Cheney Go Too Far?

By Dan Froomkin
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, August 14, 2006; 1:36 PM

By insinuating that the sizeable majority of American voters who oppose the war in Iraq are aiding and abetting the enemy, Vice President Cheney on Wednesday may have crossed the line that separates legitimate political discourse from hysteria.

Cheney's comments came in a highly unusual conference call with reporters, part of an extensively orchestrated and largely successful Republican effort to spin the obviously anti-Bush message of Ned Lamont's victory over presidential enabler Joe Lieberman in the Connecticut Democratic Senate primary.

In making the case that Lieberman's defeat was actually an enormous boost for Republicans, the customarily furtive vice president let loose not with compelling argument, but unsupported invective.

Voters who supported Lamont's antiwar campaign in the Democratic primary were giving "the Al Qaeda types" exactly what they wanted, Cheney said. And as a result the Democratic Party, he asserted, now stands for a wholesale retreat in the broader campaign against terror.

Liz Sidoti writes for the Associated Press: "Senate Democratic leaders on Friday accused Vice President Dick Cheney of playing politics with terrorism and contended that voters won't buy Republican arguments that the GOP is stronger on national security.

" 'They've run this play one too many times,' Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a conference call with reporters. 'The American people simply do not recognize any validity in what they're saying.' "

Olivier Knox writes for AFP: "While some Democrats have opposed some steps in the war on terrorism, and more and more are calling for a withdrawal from Iraq, no major figures in the party have called for a wholesale retreat in the broader conflict touched off by the September 11, 2001 attacks."

Ken Herman points out in his blog for Cox News Service: "The White House's Wednesday attack on Democrats as weaklings in the war on terror came as administration officials knew of the pending British arrests of terror suspects who allegedly planned to down several planes. . . .

"The White House and the GOP, in a coordinated effort, had moved quickly on Wednesday to portray Democrats as weak on national defense. Cheney, in an extraordinary procedure, took questions from wire service reporters during a conference call as he was in Wyoming. Cheney rarely, if ever, takes questions from groups of reporters."

Evan Thomas writes in Newsweek: "White House aides insisted that Cheney was not trying to exploit the latest terror plot for political advantage."

Cheney had been briefed on the plot, but the aides "claimed that at the time he spoke, he was unaware that arrests were imminent. Even so, these officials were somewhat hard put to explain why the normally press-shy Cheney volunteered to talk to wire reporters and offer his analysis on the national-security implications of a Lamont victory."

E.J. Dionne Jr. writes in his Washington Post opinion column: "In a telephone call with journalists, Vice President Cheney came close to suggesting that there is a new political blog out there called 'al-Qaeda for Ned.' His words have not received nearly the attention they deserve."

Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy writes in a Hartford Courant op-ed: "Vice presidents are notorious for serving as an administration's chief attack dog, and time and again Dick Cheney has been unleashed to accuse anyone who is opposed to the Bush administration of aiding the terrorists. But this time he has gone too far.

"The comments he made on the result of the Connecticut Democratic primary -- that it might encourage 'the al-Qaida types' who want to 'break the will of the American people in terms of our ability to stay in the fight and complete the task' -- are an attack not just on Democrats, but on democracy itself.

"What happened in Connecticut is in fact a model for democracies everywhere. The people of the state heard a vigorous debate between two competing visions of how to protect this country. Young citizens became deeply involved, and turnout was high. The primary reminded us of the miracle of our democracy, in which the nation is ruled by its people -- not by any entrenched set of leaders. There are few better messages we could send the world in these troubled times."

Arianna Huffington writes on her blog that "to hear Dick Cheney and company using illogical, over-the-top, fear-mongering rhetoric conflating Ned Lamont's victory with the war on terror is as deeply offensive as it is jaw-droppingly outrageous. . . .

"It would help if the MSM reacted to the GOP drivel by treating it with the contempt it deserves instead of dutifully reporting it as if it contained even an ounce of logic or sanity."

On the Editorial Pages

The Philadelphia Daily News writes: "For Cheney -- and other Republicans like GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman -- to suggest that those Americans are encouraging terrorism is reprehensible. . . .

"To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

"Has Cheney completely lost it?"

The Trenton Times writes: "Leave it to Vice President Dick Cheney to turn the results of a fair and honest election into some kind of sinister scenario. . . .

"Actually, comments such as the above are more of a sad reflection on the state of the Bush-Cheney administration, which just doesn't get it. Americans are fed up with the war in Iraq, from the false pretense for going to war to the tragically inept handling of the effort after the fall of Baghdad. Meantime, terrorist groups continue to prowl and plot, as evidenced by last week's arrest of 24 terror suspects in London, while this country spends enormous resources and sheds the blood of so many brave Americans in a war that has no end in sight."

The Minneapolis Star Tribune writes: "It's bizarre enough that a sitting vice president would decide to meddle in the politics of the opposition party and try to tell Democrats how to choose their own candidate for U.S. Senate. But it's downright outrageous that Cheney would yet again try to draw misleading parallels between Saddam Hussein and Al-Qaida. Time and again White House officials have backed off that assertion when challenged frontally -- only to find some new way to insinuate it again a day or a week later."

The Berkshire (Mass.) Eagle writes: "Six years into the Bush-Cheney era, no one should be surprised at the levels the vice president can reduce himself to in his unending efforts to smear his political foes. Yet, he continually comes up with new approaches. . . .

"The shameful smears of patriotic American voters by Mr. Cheney and White House apologists like Mr. Lieberman can't disguise how utterly they and their ilk have failed America. Their unspoken fear is that America is finally on to them."


One reaction to Cheney's comments was to simply write them off as irrelevant.

Senator Hillary Clinton told WNYC radio : "I don't take anything he says seriously anymore."

I'm not a Washington Post political reporter, but Jonathan Weisman is, and here's what he had to say in a Live Online discussion last week:

"Medford, Mass.: Exactly how is it that our sitting Vice President can get away with saying basically that people who exercised their constitutional right to vote for change (ie: Conn. primary) are helping terrorists? How is this not the headline of a story, instead of a footnote?

"Jonathan Weisman: The vice president also said the insurgency in Iraq is in its death throes, and that U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators. I'm afraid to say his utterances are losing their news value."


Ridge says Cheney wrong about Lamont victory

Newsweek, 8/21 issue:

“[Responding to Cheney’s claim that Lamont’s victory would encourage ‘al Qaeda types’], former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge bridled at his former colleague’s remark: ‘That may be the way the vice president sees it,’ he sees it, ‘but I don’t see it that way, and I don’t think most Americans see it that way.’”


Neocons looking to expand Israel-Hezbollah war

Sidney Blumenthal's latest bombshell gives more substance to what many had already believed: Cheney and his fellow neocons want to expand the Israel-Hezbollah war to Syria and Iran.

Sidney Blumenthal's latest article claims that the NSA is working with Israel to "monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new armaments to Hezbollah." He describes his source as "a national security official with direct knowledge of the operation."

"The National Security Agency is providing signal intelligence to Israel to monitor whether Syria and Iran are supplying new armaments to Hezbollah as it fires hundreds of missiles into northern Israel, according to a national security official with direct knowledge of the operation. President Bush has approved the secret program."

Blumenthal then goes on to say that Dick Cheney and Elliot Abrams are hoping to use the NSA intelligence to create a "pretext" for expanding the conflict to a "four-front war" involving Syria and Iran.

Inside the administration, neoconservatives on Vice President Dick Cheney's national security staff and Elliott Abrams, the neoconservative senior director for the Near East on the National Security Council, are prime movers behind sharing NSA intelligence with Israel, and they have discussed Syrian and Iranian supply activities as a potential pretext for Israeli bombing of both countries, the source privy to conversations about the program says. (Intelligence, including that gathered by the NSA, has been provided to Israel in the past for various purposes.) The neoconservatives are described as enthusiastic about the possibility of using NSA intelligence as a lever to widen the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah and Israel and Hamas into a four-front war.