||Like his colleagues, Carey was in an expansive mood. He said that the United States government accounted for 23 percent of Oracle's multibillion-dollar licensing revenue last year and that he expected the federal side of the business to improve after Sept. 11. ''How do you say this without sounding callous?'' he asked. ''In some ways, Sept. 11 made business a bit easier. Previous to Sept. 11, you pretty much had to hype the threat and the problem.'' Carey said that last summer, leaders in the public and private sector wouldn't sit still for a briefing. Then his face brightened. ''Now they clamor for it!'' After Sept. 11, Carey and Ellison held a series of top-level meetings in Washington about the use of Oracle technology for homeland security. ''In November, Larry had a serious discussion with Vice President Cheney, and I met with Ridge, Ashcroft and Mueller,'' Carey says, referring to the director of the Office of Homeland Security, the attorney general and the director of the F.B.I.