U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross (FL-15) issued the following statement in response to the news that the NSA has annually gathered up to 56,000 emails and other communications from Americans with no connection to terrorism:
"This is outrageous and frightening. The NSA has overstepped its lawful bounds and violated the trust of all Americans. We cannot let this happen. We must reign in this out-of-control agency through permanent reforms such as those in the bill I introduced, the Relevancy Act. The Relevancy Act would require that any investigation explain the need and relevancy for all business records data collected under the authority of the PATRIOT Act. What the NSA did is unlawful and we can't allow for this type of overreach and gross negligence."
Ross introduced H.R. 2603, the Relevancy Act, June 28, 2013.
In general, under the Business Records Section of the PATRIOT Act, the FBI may seek an order on behalf of the NSA for any tangible thing for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities. Tangible things may include books, records, papers, documents, and other items.
The Relevancy Act would narrow that in two ways: It would require the investigation to be of a specific person or group of persons, and it requires the tangible things to be related to a person that is subject to an investigation.