The CIA is analyzing a new audiotape that might prove Osama bin Laden is alive. The Arabic-language television channel al-Jazeera released a tape Tuesday in which a man believed to be bin Laden warns against attacks on Iraq and praises recent terrorist incidents around the world, like the Oct.12 Bali blast. President Bush said that although he does not know if the tape is authentic, he takes the threats in it very seriously. US officials think it is likely the recording was made by bin Laden and are using audiotechnology to determine the authenticity of the tape. If confirmed, it would be the first sign in nearly a year that bin Laden lives. Meanwhile, the Treasury and State departments were expected to announce a $5 million reward for information that results in the disruption of networks that finance terrorists. (Story, page 1.)

The US Department of Agriculture was evacuated and roads in Washington were blocked after a bomb threat Wednesday. A man was pulled over on Independence Avenue, a mile away from the White House, after police noticed his erratic driving. The man then demanded to see President Bush, claiming his vehicle had been loaded with explosives. He was taken into custody and the truck was inspected, but no explosives were found.

The Senate is expected to approve the creation of a homeland security department in the next few days. Passage of the measure had been stalled because of differences over labor provisions, but congressional negotiators have reached a compromise. Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D) will move the bill to the Senate floor. Daschle (above) said in a written statement that although he is not satisfied with the new measure, "we need to complete our work on this bill promptly." (Story, page 1; editorial, page 10.)

William Webster has departed the oversight board intended to rebuild confidence after a year of business scandals involving Enron Corp., and other large companies. The former FBI director, who had been enveloped in controversy over his selection by the Securities and Exchange Commissions, announced his resignation one day before the board's first meeting scheduled Wednesday. Webster said his presence on the board would only generate distraction. (Editorial, page 10.)

The unemployed computer administrator responsible for the largest hacker attack detected against American military networks intends to fight extradition from England. Gary McKinnon used his home computer to download sensitive, but not classified information. He was indicted in federal courts in Virginia and New Jersey Tuesday.

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