The United States is on the hunt for Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, the al-Qaeda master bombmaker behind the just-thwarted plot to bring down a U.S.-bound jetliner. If previous patterns hold, at some point in the coming weeks or months a drone launched from a secret CIA base will take al-Asiri out — and we will celebrate another “success” in what was once called the war on terror.

Mr. President, don’t do it.

A drone strike would vaporize this ingenious terrorist intent on attacking the United States. But it would also vaporize all the intelligence inside his brain. Our national security would be better served if the United States captured al-Asiri and kept him alive for questioning, so we can find out what he knows.