On the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, it's impossible to not think of those harrowing morning hours -- all the people who lost their lives in senseless acts of violence, all the grieving family members left behind, the fear of not knowing what would come next.

We lost a lot of innocence that horrible day when thousands of people lost their lives. We still mourn for them.

But in the days, months and years to follow, we lost more. We lost our freedom.

It's natural when we are afraid to want to be protected. We want to trust that those with more power than us will keep us safe, and that they will always have our best interests at heart.

Unfortunately that has not been the case. The sadness of 9/11 has been used as an excuse to spy on innocent Americans. Eleven years later, those powers remain largely unchecked.

There is a chance to fix one piece of the puzzle. On Wednesday the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a five-year reauthorization of the FISA Amendments Act (FAA), the 2008 law that legalized the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program and more.

FISA permits the government to get year-long orders from the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to conduct dragnet surveillance of Americans’ international communications—including phone calls, emails, and internet records—for the purpose of collecting foreign intelligence.  The orders need not specify who is going to be spied on or even allege that the targets did anything wrong.

To this day, members of the public, and even most members of Congress, know little about the program, who it is targeting and the information that is collected.

Shouldn't they demand that information before they rubber-stamp the act for another five years?

Tell your member of Congress to fix FISA.

Every member of the House should demand:

•    Copies of FISA court opinions interpreting our Fourth Amendment rights under the FAA, with redactions to protect sensitive information (the Department of Justice can write summaries of law if necessary);
•    A rough estimate of how many Americans are surveilled under the FAA every year;
•    A description of the rules that govern how American information picked up by FAA surveillance is protected.


We can keep America safe and free.