Republican presidential candidate and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson claimed he is in “great danger” -- and in need of Secret Service protection -- because a “secular progressive movement” opposes him, BuzzFeed reported Thursday. While some media reports claimed Carson was close to being approved for Secret Service protection, the Washington Post cited an official who said the Department of Homeland Security was still debating the matter. 

“I’d prefer not to talk about security issues, but I have recognized -- and people have been telling me for many, many months -- that I’m in great danger because I challenge the secular progressive movement to the very core,” Carson said on WABC radio’s "Rita Cosby Show" on Thursday, BuzzFeed reported. “You know, they see me as an existential threat, but I also believe in the good Lord and we take reasonable precautions.”

Carson said the threats against him are serious, which is why the Secret Service is considering protecting him. He denied Monday that his campaign had requested protection, and that the FBI and Secret Service had approached him about possible protection. 

RTS3SCF Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson talks to reporters after speaking at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Oct. 9, 2015. Photo: Reuters

But according to ABC News, the Department of Homeland Security received official requests for Secret Service protection from Carson and his rival candidate -- and current GOP front-runner -- Donald Trump earlier this week. Candidates who are front-runners in a presidential race typically request protection at this point in the campaign process, ABC reported. House Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Sen. Harry Reid will have to approve the candidates’ requests before they are granted.  

 While Trump has been consistently leading in the polls, Carson recently opened up an 8 percentage-point lead over the real estate mogul in an Iowa polls, CNN reported. The most recent poll of Iowa Republicans found that Carson was winning among two key groups in Iowa: women and white evangelicals.