White House imposes secrecy rules on First Lady's lavish, celebrity-filled birthday party

It’s not easy to enforce discipline on successful, wealthy, and famous people used to having their own way. But the White House apparently did not want to see photos of the First Lady’s glittery gala circulating around the Internet. So it imposed a strict rule: No cell phones. “Guests were told not to bring cellphones with them, and there was a cellphone check-in area for those who did,” reported the Chicago Tribune. “Signs at the party told guests: No cellphones, no social media.” People magazine added: “Guests had been greeted by a ‘cell phone check’ table where they deposited their camera phones on arrival and it was understood that this was not an occasion for Tweeting party photos or Facebooking details.” The publications cited sources who insisted on anonymity for fear of White House reprisal.

“So great was the secrecy surrounding the party,” the Tribune reported, “that guests were handed an invitation — on their way out, the sources said.”

So far, the crackdown appears to have been a success. Although a few attendees have tweeted that they had a great time, or that they danced until their feet could take no more, the Web has not been filled with photos of the First Lady’s extravagant celebration.