Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 28 December 2014

Spy secrets leaker 'shy and nice'

Edward Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency (AP/Guardian)
Edward Snowden worked as a contract employee at the National Security Agency (AP/Guardian)
Demonstrators hold signs supporting Edward Snowden in New York's Union Square Park (AP)

The father of the girlfriend of Edward Snowden has described the leaker of national secrets as a shy man with convictions, but said he is "still shocked" by the news about him.

Jonathan Mills, speaking outside his home in Laurel, Maryland, described 29-year-old Edward Snowden as "very nice. Shy, and reserved.

"He's always had strong convictions of right and wrong, and it kind of makes sense. But still shocked," Mr Mills said, describing his reaction to the news about Mr Snowden.

Mr Mills also said his daughter, Lindsay, who has been dating Mr Snowden for four or five years, is holding on amid the national controversy.

He says he has texted his daughter, but does not know where she is, and last saw her two months ago, when she came to visit for a week.

She is doing "as well as could be expected, and that's all I have to say," Mr Mills said.

Mr Snowden, a 29-year-old former intelligence contractor, has identified himself as the person who leaked details of a secret National Security Agency surveillance programme to two newspapers.

Asked if he had a message for Mr Snowden, Mr Mills said: "Just wish him good luck and he's got my love."

Mr Snowden fled to Hong Kong after leaking word of a tracking programme that collects the telephone records of millions of Americans and taps into computers of many internet services to retrieve information about foreigners living outside the US.

Russia's foreign minister says his nation has not received an asylum request from Mr Snowden. Sergey Lavrov, who is visiting Brazil, said that if a request arrives from Mr Snowden, "we will examine that request".

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