White House Officials Were Told of Operation Fast and Furious - NYTimes.com
For the benefit of the White House, the Fast & Furious sting, and that was what it was a sting, probably sounded like a good idea. Stings of a similar nature have taken place around the US, and even internationally with great results. Here is the problem, and I am not sure the Mexico Government would admit the problem to the the US, it would have made them sound weak. Mexico could not track the weapons properly once they made it across the border.
The plan as I understand it was properly set up, it used many dealers, some grey or even suspect on this side of the border. Using the larger number of places the bad guys could buy from, and using dealers that may possibly have made gun deals that where not 100% by the book, meant the the bad guys had little chance to think they where being stung.
Where the plan hits the skids, is that just one or two people on the Mexican side had to leak the plan to the bad guys. In actuality it was probably quite a few more, that leaked the plan. Then the key for the bad guys is to use dispensable members to make the initial buys, then cut the strings and let the weapons disappear on the Mexico side. If a few high level police in Mexico, kept telling there counter parts in the US that they knew where the weapons were, then the US could keep feeding the plan weapons. But the time the US figured out that their suspicions were founded, the problem was so large that to contain it, was job one. To do that, scape goats had to be found, at first this turned out to be the Gun Dealers themselves. This was viable since it was considered by many that the plan was leaked on this side by the gun dealers themselves, which probably was true to a point. Still it needed some help by Mexican police officials to keep everyone thinking they still had the guns under surveillance. But Mexico could point to the US side, with a more than reasonable suspicion.
Now the cover ups started in earnest, when you tell a citizen of Mexico that you trusted the police with a very large number of very good weapons, to set up the Cartels, they would laugh at you. You did not get a much better response from folks on the US side, but add to that many US Agents, and some Mexican Agents had also gone on record with the problems of the sting, and told by their bosses to shut up. So finger pointing was getting to be the rule, instead of looking for solutions. But once again in all fairness, once the weapons made it past what was considered the controlled and watched buyers to the next handler, the weapons were gone. With out tracking devices on the weapons, they dissapered into the under world of Mexico.
Tracking devices would have been detected by savvy Cartel members, and the ones that did have them on the weapons, where quickly removed or sold to lower level bad guys, to give the Mexican Gov, someone to arrest.
Sounded like a workable plan, lots of past history of this type sting working, so I am pretty sure the higher ups in the administration would not have had a real problem with it. Like every other plan that goes awry, the cover up is going to take down more people than the sting did.