I think that one of the things that Frank Miniter has done in this article better than any single article on the scandal so far is that he shows that it's doubtful the operation was put together to somehow build a case against the cartels - none of the requisite work to accomplish that was ever done. There are gaping holes in standard investigative processes, inexplicable lapses in planning and an incredible lack of foresight and planning - if they were really trying to build a case against the cartels.
However, if they were simply trying to show that lax gun laws in the United States were responsible for arming the Mexican drug cartels - they had everything they needed to accomplish that.
Unfortunately, the difference between the avowed goal and results is so great, one has to wonder what the real goal is. Worse, this kind of basic gap exists between so many other policies and results thereof of this administration. The broad pattern of saying "A" and getting "B" as a result is awful broad to be simple ineptitude or accident.