A brief timeline for Operation Gunwalker
February 2009: AG Holder calls for reinstating the "assault weapon" ban, saying "I think that will have a positive impact in Mexico, at a minimum."
March 2009: Hillary Clinton visits Mexico, delivers a speech. "These criminals are outgunning law enforcement officials," Clinton said of the street warfare in towns near the border that have claimed more than 6,000 lives in the past year. And since we know that the vast majority, 90% of that [weaponry] comes from our country, we're going to try to stop it from getting there in the first place," Clinton said."
April 2009: President Obama visits Mexico. "Meeting face-to-face with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, President Obama on Thursday said the U.S. is to blame for much of Mexico’s drug violence, and he set up a major congressional gun-control battle by calling on the Senate to ratify a treaty designed to track and cut the flow of guns to other countries. Mr. Obama said he wants to renew a ban on some semiautomatic weapons but that it is not likely to pass Congress." He adds, "more than 90 percent of the guns recovered in Mexico come from the United States, many from gun shops that lay in our shared border."
September 2009: Operation Fast and Furious appears to begin at about this point.
October 2009: Field Field Division establishes "Group VII." Its plans include allowing guns to "walk" to Mexico.
March 2010: An email to Group VII supervisors informs them that the acting head of ATF and the Deputy Director of FBI are very interested in the operation and receiving weekly briefings.
Some agents are objecting, since Agent Voth sends an email telling agents that if “you don’t think this is fun,” you should find another job.
April 2010: Group VII reports the straw men purchased 359 firearms, including some .50 rifles, last month alone.
May 2010: President Calderon visits Washington, calls for renewal of the "assault weapon" ban.
December 2010: The Administration proposes to require reporting of multiple long-gun sales by dealers in border States. Dennis Henigan of Brady Campaign rejoices that it may be the end of appeasement, and calls for more: "The new ATF initiative to fight Mexican gun trafficking has crossed a line -- and the administration knows it. "
December 10, 2010: Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry is murdered, and Fast and Furious guns are found at the site.
December 22, 2010, ATF agents Bloggers pick up the story.
January 2011: Fast and Furious is suddenly shut down. ATF arrests the straw men. Agent Newell vigorously denies the agency allowed guns to "walk."
Feburary 2011: story goes mainstream when CBS Evening News covers it.
So in Spring 2009 the Administration was pushing its agenda with references to American guns going to Mexico -- with spokesmen including the President, the AG, and the Secretary of State. In the following months, Operation Fast and Furious took form. The gunwalking involved offices in Arizona and Texas, and perhaps Florida, and involved FBI as well as ATF. FBI even bankrolled one of the smugglers. Occam's Razor ... gunwalking was meant to serve a political agenda that (at the outset) was seen as setting the stage for some major pushes, and that required lots of Mexican crime guns to trace to US dealers. And if a few hundred people got killed, that was just the price.