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Rent-a-cops hired to ring Philly's Independence Hall, threaten arrests

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Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Government Shutdown

Armed private security guards are on the job to keep the public away from Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, and one even threatened to arrest a political activist if he stepped on the sidewalk beside the iconic building where the Declaration of Independence and Constitution were debated and adopted.

“You will be arrested,” said one of the hired guards to activist Craig Bergman as a video team filmed his stop at the downtown historical center.

In the video, Bergman asks a National Park Service ranger who was paying for the rented cops, and was told, “You are.” The badge on the private guards read “SecTec,” a Virginia-based security company that operates around the nation. A source said that SecTec often is used for the Hall's security. Their webpage includes Independence Hall as a client.

Bergman is with Gadsden Films and was in Philadelphia to film interviews for an upcoming documentary about the IRS abuses.

It shows him approaching the Hall and Park Service officials refusing to answer his questions about security. Eventually, a Park Service police SUV, lights blinking, arrives and the officers politely answer his questions. One told him that if he tries to get near Independence Hall, “possibly you could get a citation.”

Paul Bedard, The Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com.