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Questions Loom About Malia's Secret Service Protection

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Some have speculated about whether former first daughter Malia Obama has Secret Service protection at Harvard University.

Rumors of the former president's eldest daughter's lack of protection while studying at the Ivy League college began after it was noted that a bill from more than four years ago stated that former presidents and first ladies get lifetime Secret Service protection, but children of former presidents get protection only until they're 16 years old. Malia is now 19.

Before that law, to keep costs down, presidents only got Secret Service protection for 10 years after leaving office, AOL News reported. There were exceptions to that rule, with former presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton both getting extensions on coverage for their daughters.

In an article from August, before Malia started at Harvard, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported she would have a Secret Service detail with her on campus. Anita McBride, chief of staff for former first lady Laura Bush, commented on Malia embarking on her college journey.

"How time flies," McBride said. "Here's a girl who's grown up in the public eye and who's been able to maintain a normal, private life and make regular, everyday decisions about her education and life choices. She took advantage of a very interesting opportunity at a very unique time in her life, an in-between time in her life."

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AOL News reported that it's not known whether former President Barak Obama requested an extension of coverage for his daughter.

"For Malia, the decision to delay school one year may mean she will not have to be accompanied by the Secret Service contingent that would be required if she [had begun] college [immediately]," The Washington Post reported at the time.

President Donald Trump's Secret Service costs are high due to his frequent travels and large family. U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph Alles told USA Today in August that more than 1,000 agents had already hit the caps for salary and overtime allowances that were intended to last an entire year.

"The president has a large family, and our responsibility is required in law," Alles said. "I can't change that. I have no flexibility."

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Jennifer Werner, a spokesman for Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, told USA Today that the ranking member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee feared a continued increase in the Secret Service's costs under Trump.

"It is clear that the Secret Service's demands will continue to be higher than ever throughout the Trump administration," Werner said. "We cannot expect the Secret Service to be able to recruit and keep the best of the best if they are not being paid for these increases [in overtime hours]."

Sources: AOL News, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The Washington Post, USA Today / Featured Image: Jcs27/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Joseph Williams/Wikimedia Commons, Master Sergeant Cecilio Ricardo/U.S. Air Force/Wikimedia Commons

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