Striking back, the Obama administration branded the leak of more than a quarter-million sensitive files an attack on the United States Monday and raised the prospect of criminal prosecution against the online site WikiLeaks. The Pentagon detailed new security safeguards, including restraints on small computer flash drives, to make it harder for any one person to copy and reveal so many secrets. The young Army Pfc. suspected of stealing the diplomatic memos, many of them classified, and feeding them to WikiLeaks may have defeated Pentagon security systems using little more than a Lady Gaga CD and a portable computer memory stick.
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Monday proposed a two-year freeze of the salaries of some 2 million federal workers, trying to seize the deficit-cutting initiative from Republicans with a sudden, dramatic stroke. Though signaling White House concern over record deficits, the freeze would make only a tiny dent in annual deficits or the nation's $14 trillion debt. "Small businesses and families are tightening their belts," Obama said in brief remarks at the White House. "The government should, too." The administration said the plan was designed to save more than $5 billion over the first two years.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran's president accused Israel and the West of being behind a pair of daring bomb attacks that killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another in their cars on the streets of Tehran on Monday. He also admitted for the first time that a computer worm had affected centrifuges in Iran's uranium enrichment program. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials vowed that the nuclear program would not be hampered by what they described as a campaign to sabotage it — whether by assassination or by the computer virus. The United States and its allies say Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb, a claim Tehran denies.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP — An Afghan border policeman killed six American servicemen during a training mission Monday, underscoring one of the risks in a U.S.-led program to educate enough recruits to turn over the lead for security to Afghan forces by 2014. The shooting in a remote area near the Pakistani border appeared to be the deadliest attack of its kind in at least two years.
ALEXANDRIA, Egypt (AP) — Protesters set fire to cars, tires and two polling stations, clashing with police firing tear gas in riots that erupted around Egypt on Monday over allegations the ruling party carried out widespread fraud to sweep parliamentary elections. The country's most powerful opposition movement, the Islamic fundamentalist Muslim Brotherhood, acknowledged that its lawmakers may be all but completely swept out of parliament by what it and other called rampant rigging.
ATLANTA (AP) — Staggering Election Day losses are not the Democratic Party's final indignity this year. At least 13 state lawmakers in five states have defected to Republican ranks since the Nov. 2 election, adding to already huge GOP gains in state legislatures. And that number could grow as next year's legislative sessions draw near. The defections underscore dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party — particularly in the South — and will give Republicans a stronger hand in everything from pushing a conservative fiscal and social agenda to redrawing political maps.
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — New Jersey owes the federal government more than $271 million after canceling a rail tunnel connecting the state with New York, according to a debt notice obtained Monday by The Associated Press. The letter from the Federal Transit Administration's chief financial officer to NJ Transit's executive director demands payment of $271,101,291 by Dec. 24.
FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — Three friends had just finished their shifts at a McDonald's when prosecutors say they carried out a gruesome attack on a customer: They allegedly shaped a coat hanger into a swastika, placed it on a heated stove and branded the symbol on the arm of the mentally disabled Navajo man. Authorities say they then shaved a swastika on the back of the 22-year-old victim's head and used markers to scrawl messages and images on his body, including "KKK," ''White Power," a pentagram and a graphic image of a penis.
PARIS (AP) — Pablo Picasso almost never stopped creating, leaving thousands of drawings, paintings and sculptures that lure crowds to museums and mansions worldwide. Now, a retired electrician says that 271 of the master's creations have been sitting for decades in his garage. Picasso's heirs are claiming theft, the art world is savoring what appears to be an authentic find, and the workman, who installed burglar alarms for Picasso, is defending what he calls a gift from the most renowned artist of the 20th century.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Irvin Kershner, who directed the Star Wars sequel "The Empire Strikes Back" and the James Bond film "Never Say Never Again," has died at age 87. Kershner died Saturday at his Los Angeles home following a 3½-year battle with lung cancer, said longtime friend and Hollywood publicist Dick Guttman.