TRNS News Notes is brought to you by Victoria Jones. Victoria Jones is the Chief White House correspondent and global analyst of the Washington DC based Talk Radio News Service, where her insight and analysis are made available to over 400 news talk radio stations around the country and internationally.

Cameron: “Extensive new powers” to Scots if they reject secession: vote is Thursday (BBC)
In the News

  • Ebola response ramps up
  • Cost: $500 million
  • House GOP measure on Syrian rebels: a go?
  • Some Republicans dubious
  • For Foley’s family, U.S. policy offered no hope
  • Benghazi: Brewing
  • Ray Rice likely to appeal suspension
  • House passes child care bill
  • Obama awards Medal of Honor
U.S. Ebola Response Ramps Up
• The Obama admin is preparing tassign 3,000 U.S. military personnel to respond to West Africa’s Ebola crisis to supply medical and logistical support to overwhelmed local health care systems and to boost the number of beds needed to isolate and treat victims of the epidemic (AP, Hill, me)
• President Obama planned to announce the stepped up effort today during a visit to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta amid alarm that the outbreak could spread and that the deadly virus could mutate into a more easily transmitted virus. The help comes after appeals from the region and from aid organizations
• Admin officials said Monday that the new initiatives aim to: train as many as 500 health care workers a week; erect 17 health care facilities in the region of 100 beds each; set up a joint command headquartered in Monrovia, Liberia, to coordinate between U.S. and international efforts
• Provide home health care kits to hundreds of thousands of households, including 50,000 that U.S.AID will deliver to Liberia this week; carry out a home- and community-based campaign to train local populations on how to handle exposed patients. Should take about two weeks to get U.S. forces on the ground
Cost: $500 Million
• The officials, anonymous, said the cost of the operation would come from $500 million in overseas contingency operations, such as the war in Afghanistan, that the Pentagon has already asked Congress to redirect to carry out humanitarian efforts in Iraq and in West Africa
• Hardest hit by the outbreak are Liberia, Sierra Leona and Guinea. The virus has also reached Nigeria and Senegal. The Senate’s weighing in today with a hearing to examine the U.S. response. WH spox Josh Earnest said Monday that Obama has called the Ebola outbreak a “top national security priority.”
• U.S. ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, on Monday called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday, warning that the potential risk of the virus could “set the countries of West Africa back a generation.”
• While at the CDC, Obama will also be briefed about cases of respiratory illness being reported in the Midwest. After leaving Atlanta, Obama planned to travel to FL to visit the HQ of U.S. Central Command  in Tampa to meet with military officials about the U.S. campaign against ISIS
House GOP Measure on Syrian Rebels Inches Forward
• During a closed-door morning meeting today, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and other Republican leaders will try to win over their skeptical conference on their plan granting President Obama’s request for authority to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels (Hill, Politico, Roll Call, TRNS, me)
• Leaders will argue they’re curbing Obama’s authority and requiring top admin officials to regularly keep Congress in the loop. Both the Syria legislation and the larger stopgap spending bill will be debated today, with a vote expected Wednesday. The Syria measure was introduced as an amendment to the funding bill to keep the govt open through 11 Dec
• Under the amendment, SecDef Chuck Hagel would have to give lawmakers a heads-up at least 15 days before beginning any training of opposition fighters – a provision offered by admin officials, aides said. And the Pentagon would need to give an update to lawmakers every 90 days
• The language also limits presidential authority through 11 Dec, and states Obama doesn’t have the green light to send in U.S. combat troops (Obama can’t do much in that short window). Obama has personally been calling Hill lawmakers urging them to grant him authority, and will continue making calls
• The U.S. has carried out air strikes in Iraq in support of troops who were being attacked by ISIS. They were the first made as part of expanded efforts outlined by President Obama last week (NYT, me)
Some Republicans Dubious
• Some House Republicans are downright dubious of arming the rebel fighters. Thus, the Pentagon would be required to list every individual recruited, and would have to provide info on each person’s background, including any possible links to terrorist organizations
• But the bill wouldn’t prohibit people with links to terrorist organizations from actually participating in the program. Such a blanket prohibition could make it tougher to recruit people (!)
• The amendment, offered by House Armed Services chair Buck McKeon (R-CA), would specifically grant the admin Title X authority, which would allow it to establish a center to train and equip members of the Syrian opposition, who are battling both ISIS and the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad
• Rep Adam Schiff (D-CA), who plans to offer use-of-force legislation today, has argued Obama needs explicit approval from Congress before he can launch what the WH referred to as a “war” against ISIS
• Senate Armed Services Committee will hear from SecDef Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey this am about combating ISIS. House Foreign Affairs Committee will hear from SecState John Kerry this pm on the ISIS threat
For Foley’s Family, U.S. Policy Offered No Hope
• NYT has an extensive, in-depth piece today on James Foley. This is a summary of some salient points. Not all. Suggest please read the piece for full context
• When James Foley’s brother, Michael, received a email a year after the journalist disappeared, it made clear that the people holding him wanted one thing above all else: money. So Michael Foley and his parents, John and Diane, turned over the email to the agent from the FBI assigned to their case
• The agent provided general guidance but stern warnings: The U.S. would never trade prisoners for hostages, not would it under any circumstances pay ransom. Also, the govt told the Foleys that it was a crime for private citizens to pay off terrorists
• More important was what the FBI didn’t tell the family: that Foley was being heldalongside a dozen Europeans, whose countries have a history of paying ransoms. The European countries quickly negotiated the release of their citizens in exchange for cash&&&

• “It was horrible and continues to be horrible. You are between a rock and a hard place,” Diane Foley said in a telephone interview. NYT interviewed two dozen people, including witnesses to Foley’s time in captivity, for the article
• There’s little indication that the admin anticipated how Foley and other American hostages could turn into grisly propaganda by ISIS, increasing pressure on the U.S. to begin what may become another extended military engagement in the Middle East
• From the families’ perspective, there are dividing lines between the U.S.’ approach to dealing with kidnappers and European allies. One is that many European nations take charge of the situation from the moment their citizens are captured and aggressively begin a negotiation. By contrast, relatives in the U.S. said they were left to puzzle through the crisis largely on their own
• Unbeknown to theFoleys, the email they received last November was part of a blitz sent by ISIS over a four-month period to the relatives of the 23 Western hostages they would eventually hold in the same jail, including three other Americans. There was immediately a gulf between how American and European officials responded&&&

• A crisis cell was activated inside the Foreign Ministries of France, Spain, Switzerland and Italy, staffed around the clock with people working in shifts, said a European counterterrorism official who has worked on numerous cases and was briefed on the negotiations with ISIS
• They waited for the kidnappers to reach out, and when they did, the intel services of at least one country took over the email accounts of family members, responding directly to the terrorist group. The Europeans proceeded from requesting proof of life to making a ransom counteroffer, who said the average sum negotiated per person was around two million pounds
• The Foleys and the other American families were left to answer the emails themselves and kept largely in the dark. They were not introduced to one another and had to find the other families on their own, Ms Foley said, While high-level officials met with them, they shared little info
• Months elapsed before they realized that their son’s captors were releasing his cellmates for cash. Around May, all four American families finally met one another and began holding conference calls with the admin. They began comparing ransom demands and realized the four Americans were being held by the same people&&&

• In late spring, as more and more Europeans were let go, the Foleys learned that about $4.5 million had been paid to free one hostage. They set a goal of $5 million. The bureau privately told the Foleys that it was unlikely that they would face charges and they could pursue their own course of action, a senior official said
• Once the family made it clear they wanted to pay, the bureau instructed them to stall, ask for anything that elongates the process, to get the numbers down to a realistic figure. A consultant working on the hostage crisis said, “Are you sure? I think we are just making them angry.”
• Foley’s captors didn’t only want cash. They also wanted the release of Muslim prisoners. At one point, they proposed the swap of Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui, who’s in prison in Texas on charges of trying to kill Americans in Afghanistan. They were told that wasn’t possible
• Yet on 31 May, Sgt Bowe Bergdahl was swapped for five Taliban. The families of the ISIS hostages were aghast. The Obama admin argued that the Bergdahl case didn’t constitute an exception because he was considered a prisoner of war. Siddiqui’s release was impossible because she had been convicted in an American court
• If this rationale was confusing to the families, it was especially hard to explain to their sons’ captors&&&

• By the summer, Obama authorized a rescue op after a group of French journalists was released. The unsuccessful attempt took several months to mount as authorities worked to corroborate location info from the hostage. Advisers to the families say this delay shows the admin wasn’t carrying out surveillance of the town in Syria where the Americans were held
• Unaware of the July rescue op, the Foleys were working to raise money. They were particularly worried because they hadn’t received a reply from ISIS since December. Looking back, Ms Foley said, she was “appalled” that the U.S. didn’t do more
• “Jim was in the hands of a very hateful, brutal group of people – only God knows,” she said. “But it was clear that they wanted to negotiate. That angered them more than anything. They would send nasty messages aimed at the govt, and the family had to get back to them.”
• On 8 August, Obama authorized airstrikes in Iraq. On 12 August, theFoleys received the last email from the abductors, which seemed to be addressed to them and the U.S. govt&&&

• “You were given many chances to negotiate the release of your people via cash transactions as other govts have accepted. We have also offered prisoner exchanges … however you proved quickly to us that this is NOT what you are interested in. You and your citizens will pay the price of the bombings.”
• A week later, a video appeared on YouTube showing the execution of Foley. Two weeks after that, a nearly identical video was uploaded showing the death of journalist Steven Sotloff. This weekend, a British aid worker, David Haines, was also beheaded
• Two other Americans and two British citizens remain in ISIS custody. At least 15 others held with Foley, all but one of them Europeans, succeeded in getting out in return for cash
• In an effort to make sure the death of Foley brings about change, his parents are now working to establish an organization that will advise families of other victims, giving them the info that they say they were not given
Benghazi: Brewing
• House Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee will launch a new website today as the panel prepares to meet publicly for the first time Wednesday. Previous panels were plagued by selective leaks (Issa…) and the release of limited info that Democrats say distorted events (WaPo, Slate, me)
• The new site collects and curates the results of those investigations. It allows a user to search for what statements or questions are still being asked about the attacks, shows which members of Congress have been asking them, and provides a swarm of docs and evidence in response to some of the public’s most-asked questions about the attack
• Meanwhile, contributor to the Heritage Foundation’s Daily SignalSharylAttkisson has an interview with State Dept former deputyasst secretary Raymond Maxwell, who was placed on administrative leave after a review of the attacks. In Mar 2013, he gave an interview to the Daily Beast and tried to clear his name amid charges he was laid off for incompetence&&&

•  In May 2013, he spoke to House Foreign Affairs Committee, then to House Oversight Committee. He claims he was scapegoated to protect the careers of others. So he’s been sitting on a story for 18 months – and the story’s fascinating
• Maxwell claims that Hillary Clinton political advisers were at the center of a conspiracy to conceal Benghazi docs that could be damaging to Clinton. They destroyed them in a basement on a Sunday and Maxwell butted in to have the scheme described by “a State Dept officer director” who was close to the Clintonites
• Why wait until now? The idea, he says, was to go through docs and pull out anything that showed anyone in the Near Eastern Office or the seventh floor (Clinton and her principal advisers) in a bad light. This was so that the administrative review board couldn’t see them. So he was shut up to protect Hillary Clinton? Why keep it quiet until now?(Something is very off here)
• Vid: Hillary Clinton dodged DREAMers’ questions on immigration during the rope line at the Iowa steak fry last weekend
Ray Rice Likely to Appeal NFL Suspension
• The NFL Players Association is expected to appeal the indefinite suspension given last week to former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, after a graphic video of him punching his fiancee was released (NYT, ESPN, me)
• Rice was cut by the Ravens and suspended indefinitely by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell last Monday. At the time, Rice was serving the two-game suspension he received in July. Rice could fight his second suspension by pointing to Article 46 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in his defense
• Section 4 of Article 46 states that “the Commissioner and a Club will not both discipline a player for the same act or conduct. The Commissioner’s disciplinary action will preclude or supersede disciplinary action by any Club for the same act or Conduct.”
• It could get complicated. Was he penalized twice? The league could counter by noting that the new video further tarnishes the league’s image. Representing Rice is tricky for the union. The national backlash against Rice has been strong, with calls coming from women’s groups and others for Rice to be barred permanently and for Goodell to step down
• Meanwhile, commissioner Goodell on Monday hired three senior advisers, each with a background in domestic violence advocacy, and broadened the role of a senior executive to help address domestic violence and sexual assault inside the league
• The Minnesota Vikings will allow star running back Adrian Peterson to practice this week and play Sunday at New Orleans while he faces child abuse charges in Texas, the team announced Monday (NYT)
House Passes Child Care Bill
• The House passed a bill to overhaul child care for low-income families Monday and it will likely become law before the end of the year. Under the bill, low-income families receive assistance from the program mostly in the form of vouchers, which they can use at a child care facility of their choice, including religious institutions (Politico, me)
• The bill would make modest but overdue changes: Adding mandatory background checks for child care center staff, better health and safety requirements and more information for parents about their child care options, for example. Republicans and Democrats in both chambers are supporting the bill
• Republicans are attracted to its emphasis on school choice and its roots in welfare reform: Congress last passed the child care law to make it easier for low-income mothers to work
• Democrats, many of whom have become strong advocates for early education in recent years, see the program more as a part of early-education policy that could help stimulate brain development and help boost kindergarten readiness
• Advocates say it will be crucial to secure more money for the program. They expect it to be an uphill climb
• Senate Republicans on Monday blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act, a bill that Democrats say would ensure women receive equal pay for equal work. The bill fell short, 52-40 (Hill, TRNS, me)

Obama Awards Medal of Honor

• President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Monday to two soldiers for acts of bravery “above and beyond the call of duty” during the Vietnam War. Both men were granted an exemption from a requirement the Medal of Honor be given within three years of the action (Stars and Stripes, TRNS, NYT, BBC, me)

• Retired Command Sgt Maj Bennie Adkins, 80, who served 22 years in the Army, attended the ceremony at the WH. He served three tours of duty in Vietnam. During his second deployment, he fought in close combat for 38 hours against a North Vietnamese attack on a U.S. Army camp in A Shau valley

• Early in the battle, he dragged several wounded soldiers to safety through exploding mortars as he himself was seriously injured. Sgt Adkins continued fighting to defend the camp with both mortar and rifle fire throughout another day. When the order was given to evacuate, he and others destroyed classified papers, then dug their way out of the back of a bunker

• He and several others couldn’t reach an evacuation helicopter because Sgt Adkins was carrying a wounded soldier, so he led remaining soldiers into the jungle, evading enemy forces and a tiger for 48 more hours before being rescued. It’s estimated he killed 135 – 175 enemy fighters in the battle and its aftermath

• Specialist Donald Sloat, 20, was killed in Vietnam in Jan 1970. While on foot patrol near Hawk Fire Base, a soldier in his group triggered an enemy hand grenade booby trap. Sloat picked up the grenade to throw it away, but realized it was about to explode. He drew the grenade into his body before it exploded, saving the lives of three fellow soldiers

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Victoria Jones

TRNS’ William McDonald and James Cullum contributed to this report

The Talk Radio News Service is the only information, news booking and host service dedicated to serving the talk radio community. TRNS maintains a Washington office that includes White House, Capitol Hill and Pentagon staffed bureaus, and a New York office with a United Nations staffed bureau. Talk Radio News Service has permanent access to every breaking newsevent in the Washington, D.C. area and beyond.