A 40-minute videotape of Osama bin Laden discussing the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has been obtained by US officials in Afghanistan and makes clear the Al Qaeda leader was behind them, Vice President Cheney told NBC's "Meet the Press." The tape reportedly shows Bin Laden describing the damage around the twin towers of the World Trade Center as greater than expected and praising Allah for more success than anticipated. Cheney said bin Laden displayed significant knowledge of what happened and left no doubt about his responsibility for the attack.

The Senate approved a $318-billion defense budget that boosts pay for US troops and provides the Bush administration with the funding it has sought for a national missile defense program. The measure, which passed at midnight Friday, dramatically increases spending for the military as it wages the war on terrorism, providing $27 billion more for fiscal 2002 than the previous year.

Members of Congress are on their way to a $4,900 pay raise in January after the Senate used a 65-33 procedural vote to defeat an effort by Russell Feingold (D) of Wisconsin to keep it from taking effect. The boost will raise members' annual salaries to $150,000. Feingold questioned the timing of the measure when the economy is in recession.

A US citizen captured last week while fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan is being held by marines at their base south of Kandahar and will be handed over to civilian authorities as soon as lawyers from the departments of Defense and Justice determine the best way to handle his sensitive case, officials said. John Walker could face various charges, including treason, murder, and conspiracy.

Employees at an Internal Revenue Service processing center run by Pittsburgh's Mellon Bank may have hidden or destroyed more tax returns and payments than originally thought, recent figures received by the Senate Finance Committee showed. Max Baucus (D) of Montana said the center may have mishandled as many as 71,257 returns worth $1.2-billion - or 31,000 more than first believed. A grand jury began investigating the case after the IRS officials received calls in May from people whose tax payment checks had not cleared.

In one of the closest races in the history of the Heisman Trophy, University of Nebraska quarterback Eric Crouch (above) won college football's top individual prize. The versatile Crouch capped a sensational career by running for 1,115 yards and 18 touchdowns this season, passing for 1,510 yards and seven more scores, and catching a 63-yard TD pass. His vote total over runner-up Rex Grossman of the University of Florida - 770 to 708 - was smallest since 1962.

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