ABC's Jake Tapper talked to a number of administration officials and put together this timeline, parts of which might make your skin crawl. Here's the gist, but the whole thing is worth a read:

It was only after that process, on February 28, officials said, when officials of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York email their counterparts at the Treasury Department to inform them of several outstanding issues related to compensation for AIG executives, and to give them a heads up that details of the retention program for the Financial Products subsidiary were forthcoming. ...

[O]n March 5, New York Fed officials forwarded to the Treasury Department a summary of AIG’s bonus and retention payment issues, including details of the retention program for officials of the Financial Products. This information included that $165 million in payments were expected that very month ...

On March 9, 2009, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York sent full details and supporting documentation to the Treasury Department about the Financial Products retention program.

One day later, Geithner was told about the $165 million in bonuses.  

--Noam Scheiber