The only thing we can all agree on is operatives are awful.
A lethality Operative can pull some decent numbers depending on the fight, and even in some cases out parse other classes. Look up Invinc on Torparse.
Most of the times when you hear people talk about really hard hitting dps, they usually are referring to burst classes and or aoe classes, both of which can over perform on certain fights compared to a sustained dps class. Also some fights compliment certain classes/specs better then others.