CNN reports that Barack Obama has been awarded a Secret Service protective detail:
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama, a U.S. senator from Illinois, has been placed under the protection of the Secret Service, the agency said Thursday.
The government is not aware of any specific, credible threat against Obama, according to a law enforcement source familiar with the decision. But his office has received hate mail and calls and other "threatening materials" in the past and during his campaign, the source said.
Three Obama campaign officials who discussed the issue on condition of anonymity also said there was no specific threat against the candidate.
They said the request stemmed from what one called the "cumulative effect" of a heavier campaign schedule, larger crowds and "just the growing perception internally" it was time to take additional security precautions that are best suited for the Secret Service.
Hotline has the story as well. They note that this is the earliest a detail has ever been awarded. Typically the Service waits until January or February of an election year. The Secret Service previously noted that costs of protection are likely to be much higher this presidential cycle because of the deep field of candidates; now the costs are likely to increase further -- not so much because of the Obama detail, but because other major candidates can be expected to press for protection as well. Secret Service protection adds a number of advantages -- not least the 'presidential aura' that only Hillary has enjoyed in the campaign to date. It also confers logistical support, planning assistance, 'free' travel, and other advantages. If you're Rudy Giuliani or any of the other major candidates, why shouldn't you feel 'entitled' to it as well?
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