Through the civilian courts, through active intelligence and surveillance and without the use of torture, the most dangerous terror plot since 9/11 was foiled. More to the point:

In recent weeks, Mr. Zazi had begun providing information to prosecutors as part of the initial stages of an agreement that led to his guilty plea on Monday, according to two people with knowledge of the case. The 10-page plea agreement was sealed by Judge Raymond J. Dearie, but the arrangement suggests that prosecutors believe Mr. Zazi can be a valuable source of information.

The idea that the United States has to resort to the tactics of totalitarian regimes to protect itself from terrorists is preposterous now and always has been. But notice too how the war on terror has a way of generating itself:

“I would sacrifice myself to bring attention to what the United States military was doing to civilians in Afghanistan,” he said.

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