ISTANBUL - President-elect Barack Obama plans to nominate Hillary Rodham Clinton as secretary of state as early as next week, a new milestone for a former first lady and a convergence of two political forces who contested mightily for the presidency.

Meanwhile, U.S. telephone operator Verizon Wireless has acknowledged that records from a cell phone used by Obama were improperly breached, apparently by employees of the cell phone company.

Obama transition aides described a process Thursday that appears on track to make Clinton the top diplomat in an Obama administration, just one week after the two first met in secrecy to discuss the idea. Obama plans to nominate her after next Thursday's U.S. Thanksgiving holiday, aides told the Associated Press. The nomination would be a remarkable union between the former first lady who was an early favorite to win the presidency and the first-term senator who upset her in the primary and cruised to a general election victory.

Cell phone scandal
Also, late Thursday, telephone company Verizon said some of its employees snuck a peek at Obama's old cell phone records and will be reprimanded accordingly. Obama aides said no voicemails or e-mails were accessed. The company said the account has been inactive for several months.

"We apologize to President-elect Obama and will work to keep the trust our customers place in us every day," the company said, according to a report by Agence France-Presse. In March Obama and Clinto learned that their passport files were improperly accessed by employees in the state department.