A report by the Ohio State Highway Patrol has come to the conclusion we believe most Buckeye State residents already had regarding an aborted "sting" operation at Gov. Ted Strickland's home earlier this year. The operation was planned well and would have been safe to all involved, the report emphasizes.
But the report raises another question: Why was former Patrol Maj. Robert Booker Jr. forced out of his job after the sting was canceled?
Patrol investigators were made aware early this year of a plan to smuggle contraband, probably tobacco, to a prison inmate in the detail used for various tasks at the governor's residence. A sting operation was set up to catch the woman who had planned to "drop" contraband at the home, to be picked up by an inmate.
But the operation was canceled. The woman actually was warned she was under investigation.
It developed the sting was aborted because some state officials worried it would embarrass Strickland. Safety concerns had nothing to do with it.
A report released by the Patrol this week concluded there was no good reason to cancel the operation. Again, we think most Ohioans aware of the fiasco already had come to that conclusion.
But documents used to prepare the report also address Booker's removal, just days short of his retirement, from the office which had planned the sting. Patrol investigators seized Booker's cell phone and computer. Among deleted documents they recovered was one indicating Booker had been made aware the operation was canceled for political reasons. The document also reflected Booker's displeasure at the decision.
Why was Booker removed? Was it an attempt to cover up the political nature of the decision to abort the sting?
We doubt the full story ever will be known. What has been uncovered is another demonstration of political meddling that has hampered Highway Patrol officers in doing their jobs. That is something Ohioans should not be willing to tolerate.