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VERIFY: Do Presidential Candidates Automatically Get Secret Service?

A protester got within a couple feet of Former VP Joe Biden on Tuesday. A Nazi flag was unveiled at Bernie Sanders rally on Thursday. Are they getting protection?

WASHINGTON — Question:

Do Presidential candidates automatically get Secret Service? 

Answer:

No. Candidates first need to request this protection. The request is then decided on by The Department of Homeland Security, with the help of a bi-partisan committee. 

Source:

A spokesperson for the United States Secret Service

Letter From the Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security

Process:

On Tuesday evening, after his big night on Super Tuesday, Presidential hopeful Joe Biden took the stage. Early in the speech, a pair of dairy protesters jumped on stage, getting within feet of the candidate. 

Two days later, Bernie Sanders was speaking at a rally in Phoenix, when a Nazi flag was unveiled. 

These recent incidents have a lot of people wondering why the candidates do not have Secret Service. 

"Aren't we at the point where serious candidates should have Secret Service," wrote one person on Twitter. 

"All remaining candidates should have Secret Service details form here on out," wrote another. 

To find out the actual policy, The Verify Team reached out to the U.S. Secret Service. The agency has been vocal on this issue, calling some recent media coverage "categorically false." 

"The Agency remains full prepared to execute this vital mission," they wrote. "And any suggestion to the contrary breeds unfounded public concern and irresponsibly misrepresents the skill and professionalism of our workforce." 

The agency wrote that a candidate first needs to "formally request protection." The decision will then be made by the DHS Secretary, following the advice of the "Candidate Protection Advisory Committee," which is made up of Congressional leaders from both parties. 

"To date, the Department has not received a request for protection," the Secret Service wrote. 

Things may soon change though. A letter was sent by the Chairman of the House Committee On Homeland Security, asking for Secret Service details to be assigned to both Democratic front-runners. 

"Americans deserve to know," the letter read. "That the major candidates for President are protected from all threats to their safety."

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