FORT MEADE - The US military viewed anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks as a news gathering operation before Private First Class Bradley Manning leaked a trove of classified files to it, a Harvard professor testified at Manning's court-martial on Wednesday.
Yochai Benkler, a Harvard University law professor and expert on media law, testified for the defense that a 2008 Defense Department report on WikiLeaks had said that a US enemy could theoretically use the site to gather information.
But the Pentagon report, which had been based on publicly available material, said there was no sign that that had happened, said Benkler, the co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society.
The Pentagon report came out before Manning, 25, is alleged to have leaked more than 700 000 classified files, combat videos and State Department cables while serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq in 2009 and 2010.
Benkler is the 10th witness called by chief defense lawyer David Coombs since he started his case on Monday. Coombs has not divulged a customary list of witnesses, but Benkler could be the last called by the defense.