Report: The U.S. Pushed Israeli Plan

Months before Israel launched its fearsome barrage of air strikes, the plan to do so had already been fully fleshed out, the latest edition of the New Yorker charges.

Israeli military leaders had identified specific targets to bring down Hezbollah and were waiting only for an excuse to put the campaign in motion.

What's more, CBS News correspondent Joie Chen the idea had been nurtured by Vice President Cheney, according to investigative journalist and author Seymour Hersh.

"This White House was deeply involved with the Israeli plan, supported them, pushed them," Hersh said.

Today, Israel not only fiercely denied seeking a "green light" from the White House, but insisted it had no advance plan to strike — that it launched missiles solely in response to Hezbollah's provocative attacks.

"Had it not been for the shelling of Hezbollah over our population, had it not been for the kidnapping of our soldiers and killing of eight, we would not have taken any action," said Israeli Ambassador to the United States Daniel Ayalon.

Israel also denied another Hersh claim: That its military leaders began talking tactics with U.S. generals early this spring, developing a strategy that could be used not only by Israel against Hezbollah, but potentially by U.S. forces in a military campaign against Iran.

"Let Israel attack Hezbollah, we'll watch and see how it works, learn from it, and if we do decide to go to Iran, we can't go to Iran anyway as long as Hezbollah has rockets," Hersh said.

President Bush echoed the Israeli denial, calling the story "patently untrue."

And the White House quoted national security adviser Steven Hadley, who said: "The suggestion that the U.S. and Israel planned and coordinated an attack on Hezbollah — and did so as a prelude to an attack on Iran — is just flat wrong."