June 23, 2013 / 10:44 PM / 6 years ago

Father of Snowden's girlfriend says she is staying with friends

LAUREL, Md./ALLENTOWN, Pennsylvania (Reuters) - Jonathan Mills, father of the girlfriend of fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden, said his daughter is staying with friends and he doesn’t know if she will try to join Snowden in exile.

Jonathan Mills stands outside his home in Laurel, Maryland June 23, 2013. Mills, the father of the girlfriend of fugitive former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden said his daughter is staying with friends and doesn't know if she will try to join him in exile. REUTERS/Tom Ramstack

Snowden, who divulged widespread U.S. government wiretapping to the news media, flew to Moscow from Hong Kong to escape extradition to the United States. Snowden, who faces felony charges, is seeking asylum in Ecuador, the Quito government said on Sunday.

Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay Mills, was living with Snowden in Hawaii when he went public with his secrets.

“Up until all this happened, she was happy living in Hawaii,” said Jonathan Mills, 57, a software engineer who writes computer programs for restaurants. “Now she is staying with friends and she won’t say where. I think she’s trying to protect the family.”

He was uncertain whether he thought Snowden should be prosecuted, or whether Lindsay would join Snowden in exile.

“I don’t think he would want her there, caring about her and knowing he would always be an outcast,” Mills said, as he smoked a cigarette outside of his Laurel, Maryland home.

Mills said Snowden “always had very strong convictions of right and wrong.”

“He must have found something disturbing him enough that he would go this far,” Mills said. “I think he was acting in good faith.”

Mills said he was upset about the situation, “very much, for what it’s done to my daughter. Her whole world was yanked out from under her.”

The United States filed charges against Snowden in a sealed criminal complaint dated June 14, according to a court document made public on Friday.

Snowden was charged with theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information and willful communication of classified communications intelligence information to an unauthorized person, the document said.

Outside the Pennsylvania home of Snowden’s father, Lonnie, near Allentown, the street was quiet Sunday.

A gray Toyota Camry sedan was parked in the driveway and lawn mowers hummed as neighbors tended their yards in this neighborhood of well-kept townhouses and single-family homes. Several knocks on Snowden’s front door went unanswered.

Neighbor Angelo Reck, 89, said what Edward Snowden did was wrong. “He’s lucky someone didn’t shoot him,” said Reck, who never saw Edward Snowden at the house.

Editing by Mary Wisniewski and Eric Walsh

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