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Biden campaign makes formal request for Secret Service protection

Joe Biden expands lead over Bernie Sanders
Joe Biden expands lead over Bernie Sanders 08:13

Joe Biden's presidential campaign has made an official request for U.S. Secret Service protection, a congressional official told CBS News.

The official said the four congressional leaders — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy — were notified of the request from the Biden campaign Thursday.

"Disposition of the matter" is expected "soon," the official said.

TJ Ducklo, a spokesman for Biden's campaign, said, "We don't comment on security matters."

The request from Biden's campaign comes a week after the House Homeland Security Committee asked congressional leaders and the Department of Homeland Security to determine whether Biden and fellow candidate Bernie Sanders should have Secret Service protection.

Chairman Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, urged the congressional leaders and Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to "immediately undertake the consultation necessary to determine whether any Democratic candidates for president should be afforded protection" by the Secret Service.

Thompson pointed to the large size of their campaign operations, high polling averages and physical threats to their safety as factors that should be taken into consideration when determining whether they should be provided protection.

Biden and Sanders, as well as the other previous Democratic presidential candidates, have had close run-ins with protesters during campaign events, raising questions as to whether Secret Service protection is needed.

Anti-dairy protesters jumped on stage while Biden was giving remarks in Los Angeles celebrating his Super Tuesday victories earlier this month. One of the women who made it on the stage was removed by security, while a second was tackled and yanked off stage by Symone Sanders, a senior Biden adviser.

Jill Biden, the former vice president's wife, also stepped in to stop the woman, marking the second instance where she has put herself between her husband and a protester.

An anti-dairy demonstrator also grabbed the microphone from Sanders during a speech in Nevada last month. Several other women, at least one of whom was topless, also marched on stage holding signs.

While Biden had a Secret Service detail while he was vice president, his protection ended six months after he left office as required by the Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008. He travels with one private bodyguard.

Bo Erickson and Arden Farhi contributed to this report.

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