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Rick Santorum Campaign Formally Requests Secret Service Protection

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(FARGO, N.D.) -- The Santorum campaign has formally requested Secret Service protection, a campaign aide confirmed to ABC News.

A campaign lawyer sent the Department of Homeland Security a letter Wednesday, but the aide told ABC News the candidate was not immediately informed.

That explains why, on Wednesday evening when Santorum appeared on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight, he said the campaign had not reached out.

“I think the person, who when I was asked that question, misunderstood what I was saying,” Santorum said, referring to a question from ABC News on the topic Tuesday in Idaho. “I said that we are having discussions within the campaign about whether to do that. But no, we don’t have any Secret Service protection and this is just something because of some events that have happened, you know, we are just having the discussion internally about whether this is something we want to do or not.”

The aide stressed Santorum was not lying and the plan was to brief the candidate after his campaign event in Fargo, N.D. There were more than 1,500 people crammed into a hotel ballroom and Santorum got a very enthusiastic reception while he pitched himself to voters who caucus on Super Tuesday.

Tuesday night in Boise, Idaho, Santorum said, “For the sake of my family…we have to consider [Secret Service protection], so we are in that discussion right now.”

The aide added that Santorum is resisting getting Secret Service protection and would prefer not to have it.

Protocol for a candidate to receive protection is that the campaign must first make a formal request with the Department of Homeland Security -- unless there is a specific threat -- then the request goes to Senate leadership and the Senate Sergeant at Arms, who reviews the request and makes a decision whether to offer the protection or not.

Mitt Romney received Secret Service protection two weeks ago. Santorum currently employs private security.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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