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Nikki Haley campaign requests Secret Service after security incidents By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Republican presidential candidate and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks during a campaign visit, ahead of the Republican presidential primary election, at the Etherredge Center in Aiken, South Carolina, U.S. Febru

By Gram Slattery and Alexandra Ulmer

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican presidential contender Nikki Haley, the last remaining rival to Donald Trump in the primary race, has requested U.S. Secret Service protection, the campaign said on Monday.

While the campaign did not disclose any specific threats that prompted the request, Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, was targeted in two “swatting” incidents, once on Dec. 30 and once on Jan. 1, Reuters previously reported.

In recent days, protesters opposing Haley’s support for additional military assistance for Ukraine or supporting Trump’s candidacy have regularly disrupted or demonstrated near her events in South Carolina.

Haley has been campaigning in the state, where she served as governor from 2011 to 2017, ahead of its primary on Feb. 24.

The Secret Service often provides security to major presidential candidates, both in general and primary elections. According to federal regulations, such protection must be authorized by the Secretary of Homeland Security in consultation with the Congressional Advisory Committee, which is composed of five members, including the top Democrat and Republican in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately comment on Haley’s request for protection, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Swatting is the filing of false reports to the police to set off a potentially dangerous response by officers. Law enforcement experts see it as a form of intimidation or harassment that is increasingly being used to target prominent figures, including officials involved in the civil and criminal cases against Trump.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was tracking one of the hoax calls that led to the swatting incident at Haley’s South Carolina home in December and intended to open a “threat assessment,” according to an e-mail obtained by Reuters in January.

Haley has said her parents were at home during the December incident.

In the battle to take on Democratic President Joe Biden in the November general election, Trump is leading Haley by more than 56 percentage points, according to an average maintained by polling analysis website FiveThirtyEight. In South Carolina, Trump leads by roughly 32 points.

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