Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation, Part II of III, Joint Staff Report, October 29, 2012 [open pdf - 6MB]
From the executive summary: "Operation Fast and Furious was not a strictly local operation conceived by a rogue ATF office in Phoenix, but rather the product of a deliberate strategy created at the highest levels of the Justice Department aimed at identifying the leaders of a major gun trafficking ring. This strategy, along with institutional inertia, led to the genesis, implementation, and year-long duration of Fast and Furious. Shortly after he took office, Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr. delivered a series of speeches about combating violence along the southwest border. He focused specifically on fighting Mexico's Sinaloa Cartel, and in the fall of 2009, the Justice Department released a document crystallizing the Attorney General's vision, entitled 'Department of Justice Strategy for Combating the Mexican Cartels.' As part of this new strategy, the Department of Justice made a tactical decision to shift its focus from arresting straw purchasers to identifying members of large illegal trafficking networks. These investigations would involve multiple federal agencies, and local U.S. Attorney's offices would coordinate them. In October 2009, the Deputy Attorney General led a newly created Southwest Border Strategy Group designed to ensure the effective implementation of this strategy. The ATF Phoenix Field Division received the Department's new strategy favorably. Leaders of the Phoenix Field Division believed that the new strategy allowed agents to witness illegally purchased weapons being transferred to third parties without interdiction, even if lawful interdiction was possible. […] Though the Criminal Division assigned an attorney to assist with Fast and Furious, the operation quickly spun out of control. […] Thus far, the Department has failed to reprimand any senior Department officials for their actions--or lack thereof--during Fast and Furious. In fact, several have received promotions. The management culture of the Department must change to prevent such a deadly operation from occurring again. Time is of the essence. Change must begin now."
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform: http://oversight.house.gov