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article imageBarack Obama Placed Under Secret Service protection

By malan     May 3, 2007 in Politics
Obama placed under protection, the earliest protection ever for a presidential candidate. Is this protection due to racially motivated threats? For now, no one will say.
Eric Zahren of the Secret Service announced that the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff had several meetings with the congressional advisory committee before authorizing Obama's protection by the Secret Service.
Zahren has not provided any details on exactly what caused the need for extra security but claims that he is "not aware it was based on any threat” although earlier reports conflict with that statement and say that indeed Obama has been threatened.
CNN reports that in a statement from Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff he said he authorized the protection detail for Obama.
"As a matter of procedure, we will not release any details of the deliberations or assessments that led to protection being initiated," the statement said. "For security reasons we will not release the timing, scope or details of any protective operations."
Federal law allows candidates to seek protection if they meet a series of standards, including public prominence as measured by polls and fundraising and it is not uncommon for a presidential candidate to be put under the protection of the Secret Service it is odd for one to receive this status so early. Obama's placement under protection in May is the earliest ever for a presidential hopeful.
Yahoo news reports that in the last election, Democratic candidates John Kerry and
John Edwards were also placed under the protection of Secret Service but it didn't happen until Feb of 2004... which is in stark contrast to Obama's protection which comes 9 months before the actual election.
Obama is playing down the fact that as a black man he is more of a target for threat. "I face the same security issues as anybody," the Illinois senator told the AP. "We're comfortable with the steps we have taken."
The fact that Obama is a black man is surely going to draw him some criticism from racist extremists who just don't want to see an African American in the White House. Jesse Jackson also received early protection from the Secret Service when he ran for president in the 1980s. His did not come as early as Obama's but it did come early.
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