WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) - Of the $439 million in 2011 federal bonuses tracked by a 9 News Now investigation, a list of 54 government workers has uncovered some special qualifications, including a man who led NAVY SEALS to Osama bin Laden.
"That enabled us to pinpoint, find, and conduct the raid on Osama bin Laden, which is rather amazing," said Senior Executives Association spokeswoman Carol Bonosaro about the bonus winner's actions. "I think it's unfortunate that the American people don't know what they do."
A White House source confirmed to 9 Wants to Know Bonosaro's account, but despite repeated attempts no one within the Obama Administration would discuss the bonuses or recipient qualifications on the record.
White House Office of Management and Budget spokeswoman Moira Mack said the President had actually reduced the "Rank" bonuses for outstanding performance by 36% in 2011.
Bonosaro's group represents senior government officials and provided WUSA9 with a list of the accomplishments of all the federal workers who received the government's top financial Presidential Rank Award for service.
The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has released photos of a once top secret model created with information orchestrated by one of the award winners.
The built to scale bin Laden compound model is detailed down to ivy on the walls and took six weeks to make.
According to NGI sources it was used by the White House at senior level briefings.
The man behind the satellite imagery interpretation and intelligence used to create the model and track bin Laden received a bonus equivalent to one-third of his normal annual salary, as did other recipients of the Rank Awards.
"Astonishing," is how Bonosaro describes the agent and other senior government workers awarded as much as about $63,000 as a onetime bonus. "These award winners have included Nobel prize winners."
According to documents obtained by WUSA9, the USDA awardee is
credited with getting the first pandemic H1N1 vaccine approved in 2009
Administration officials will not confirm the validity of the
documents provided by the Bonosaro's organization.
A nomination form provided by SEA indicates the high ranking USDA official, who was recognized with a Presidential Rank
Award, is credited with preserving the
market for American hog farmers.
Other federal workers who received the top bonus, she says, argued the Elian Gonzales case before the Supreme Court, developed nuclear and biological sensors for soldier backpacks and vehicles, designed ways to make mattresses safer from fire, made possible emergency Haitian earthquake relief, protected endangered species during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill, shielded America's corn from an unauthorized release of genetically-modified grain, and removed the air pollution equivalent of 166 million cars.
The White House said the number of recipients in the program, which was established in 1978, is capped by Congress, but President Obama cut the program deeper.
"The lowest level in years, said Moira. "Ensuring fiscal restraint without sacrificing the ability to incentivize excellence."
Bonosar said the award bonuses, which give select senior officials a bonus of 35% of their annual salary cost about $3 million, but recognizes workers who have saved lives and collectively initiated programs saving over $30 billion.
"$36 billion (in savings), so I think that's a very good return on the investment," Bonosaro said. "They've just done amazing things. They've done it on behalf of the government and the American people."
Despite our repeated requests, no federal agency would talk about the bonus recipients' performance on the record, but a White House official confirms several key details behind the decisions to award these top federal bonuses provided by Bonosaro.
You can follow Investigative Reporter Russ Ptacek at Twitter.com/ @RussPtacek and Facebook.com/russptacek.
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