Homeland Security secretary Michael Chertoff has authorized Secret Service protection for presidential candidate Barack Obama, CNN reports. A spokesman would not explain the reason for the assignment but said the secretary acted at the campaign's request. The Secret Service said the coverage is not in response to a specific threat, although New York's WABC reported otherwise.
"For security reasons we will not release the timing, scope or details of any protective operations," Chertoff said in a statement. The move—the earliest assignment since the Secret Service started guarding major candidates in 1968—makes Obama the first 2008 hopeful who is not a former First Lady to have a Secret Service detail.