The career bureaucrats of the Phoenix office of the BATFE ginned up operation Fast and Furious and got it blessed by the US AG for AZ.
I don't know if we'll ever find out the details of how the idea for F&F evolved and what it's true purpose was. But I am leaning toward the idea that Dennis Burke just got it in his head that having weapons from U.S. gun stores turn up at crime scenes was a potential gold mine for turning public opinion against the NRA, that it could be used to 1) create outrage over the violaence and loss of life, 2) could be blamed on lax gun control laws 3) when the NRA tried to argue against stricter gun control laws the issue could be used to paint the NRA has radical and insensitive 4) The groundswell of public opinion to enact stricter gun control could be used to push through nation gun control laws.
It all seems like pie in the sky wishfull thinking now - but I think it was this single minded focus that kept Dennis Burke from seeing the fatal falws in the plan.
I think it was Burke who came up with the idea and he had sympathetic ears at BATFE.