Ben Carson's and Donald Trump’s campaigns have both asked for Secret Service protection, the Department of Homeland Security confirmed to NBC News.
"The Department of Homeland Security has now received official requests for Secret Service protection from both the Carson and Trump campaigns and has taken them under review pursuant to the statutorily required process,” DHS Assistant Secretary (Acting) for Public Affairs Todd Breasseale said in a statement.
The final decision as to whether those requests will be granted remains up to a congressional advisory committee, which includes the Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader, Senate Majority Leader, Senate Minority Leader, and one additional member.
Carson’s campaign wouldn’t comment on the request, with a spokeswoman saying only “we don’t discuss security issues,” but a source told Newsmax, which first reported the possible Secret Service deployment, that threats against Carson have been "off the charts.”
Carson himself suggested during a book-tour stop in Austin, Texas on Monday that he wasn’t interested in receiving extra protection, but hinted that he had indeed become a “target” because of his campaign message.
“I don't feel the need for it, quite frankly, but the Secret Service thinks that I need it. So, you know, it is what it is,” he said.
“I recognize that someone like me who is very truthful and who really doesn't subscribe to all the traditional power scriptures is probably gonna be a target.”
When asked about the evident conflict between Carson’s reluctance to accept SS protection and his campaign’s apparent request for it, a U.S. government official tells NBC News that the request for protective service for both Trump and Carson came from their campaigns and that they are not required to have it. The official adds that If Dr. Carson – as a citizen – does not want it, then he is not required to have it.