The Surveillance Scandals

06.11.13

Lindsay Mills, Edward Snowden’s Girlfriend, Writes ‘All I Feel Is Alone’

She describes herself on her blog as a ‘world-traveling, pole-dancing superhero.’ But Lindsay Mills is something else: the girlfriend of NSA leaker Edward Snowden. Caroline Linton examines her digital footprint.

Edward Snowden told his girlfriend he would be going away for a few weeks, but he was vague about the reason. “That is not an uncommon occurrence for someone who has spent the last decade in the intelligence world,” Snowden told The Guardian.

Of course, things were not normal for Snowden. Three weeks ago, the 29-year-old former Booz Allen Hamilton contractor left his home in Hawaii because he planned on leaking information about the National Security Agency’s secret spying program. His identity was publicly revealed in The Guardian on Sunday. “I do not expect to see home again,” he told the paper. He’s been hiding out in Hong Kong ever since.

But what about the girlfriend he left behind? Lindsay Mills, a 28-year-old dancer who attended the University of Maryland and kept a blog called “L’s Journey” (it was recently taken down), doesn’t appear to be taking the separation well.

Mills hasn’t publicly acknowledged dating Snowden, but in her last entry, on June 10, she wrote that she was “lost and adrift.” “My world has opened and closed all at once,” Mills wrote. “Leaving me alone at sea without a compass. Surely there will be villainous pirates, distracting mermaids, tides change in the new open water chapter of my journey. But at the moment, all I feel is alone ... sometimes life doesn’t afford proper goodbyes.”

Before her boyfriend’s big reveal, Mills described her blog as detailing “my adventures as a world-traveling, pole-dancing superhero.” She’s a ballerina, performs with the Waikiki Acrobatic Troupe—and sure enough, she posts plenty videos of her pole-dancing movies. She’s a profilic selfie-er, with “self-portrait” being one of the most used phrases on her blog. She also frequently poses for photos in her underwear. In one photo, she covers her bare breasts with cupcakes. In another, she wears flippers while topless and curled artfully into a chair.

Video screenshot

Mills is the reported curator of a YouTube channel called 'LsJourney,' which is full of provocative dance videos.

Mills has left her Twitter account active, tweeting on June 11: “To delete or not to delete. That is the question.” The day before, she tweeted “I have lost my compass and I find myself adrift at sea.”

As for Snowden and Mills’s relationship, she describes her boyfriend only as “E” or “mystery man,” and his face is never directly featured in any of the photos. There’s one portrait of the two of them together, but his back is to the camera. In another shot at a waterfall, his face is blurred out, and in a third, only their silhouettes are visible at sunset. At one point, she even writes that her friends “weren’t quite sure E existed.” Mills wrote March 29 that “E is leaving for a few weeks for business on the mainland,” and she later describes watching him fly off. As for their relationship, she is not shy in describing its ups and downs, writing February 25 that they “had one of these mornings that challenges your core. Shows how far you’ll go for your partner.”

In her last blog entry, on June 10, Milles wrote that she is “lost and adrift.”

In June 2012, Mills moved to Hawaii to be with Snowden. She wrote on her blog in July that “it has been quite an emotional up-and-down roller coaster since the moment I stepped off the plane. This week I’ve had the strong urge to have a date night—try to bring back a little normalcy into our rocky time out here.” And she tweeted on June 29 “F*** you, Hawaii.”

Mills rarely talks about politics, and there are few signs that she is as passionate about government ethics as Snowden turned out to be. Last July 4, she wrote that “America is still one of the greatest, but she’s falling in my eyes. I hope her people see where she’s going and ask themselves ‘is this really how I want to live.’” She makes jokes on her Twitter page about how she wished she could have injured herself in Canada so the medical costs would be cheaper. She tweeted last year: “new gun for mybday? Yes please!” Mills also took a stance on SOPA, the anti-online piracy bill that would have allowed intellectual-property owners to censor certain websites, tweeting on January 12: “feel the need to tell everyone I know that SOPA is destructive to our Internet.”

It’s unclear how much—if anything—Mills knew about Snowden’s job or his plans to leak. Snowden has told The Guardian that NSA police and other law-enforcement officials twice visited the home he and Mills shared twice since he left for Hong Kong, but he suspected the visits had more to do with his absence from work than with his leaks.

Regardless, Mills’s site—with so many of her pretty photos and the insight into her life—has been taken down. Her future remains uncertain. “I write to remember,” she once wrote on her blog. “To forget. To silence the endless words in my head.”