My observation is that the surveillance apparatus failed to protect us from the Boston bombers, even though we were warned that they had terrorist connections. Determined terrorists, such as Osama ben Laden, learned to avoid any electronic communication devices since they are easily tracked and monitored by NSA another intelligence agencies.
In contrast the intelligence officials have shown extraordinary interest in leaking data that may be politically embarrassing and using data for political investigations. For example, investigative journalist, Sheryl Attkinson, had her computers hacked by intelligence agencies after she published reports that were embarrassing to the Obama administration. She has an ongoing lawsuit, and compiled this timeline of increasing abuse of government surveillance powers:
She recently updated the use of politically motivated intelligence leaks that designed to attack Trump and his administration:
Her lawsuit against surveillance abuse continues:
For those on the left who dismiss these abuses that target their political opponents consider this quote about complacency during Nazi abuse of power:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—
** Because I was not a socialist. **
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—
** Because I was not a trade unionist. **
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
** Because I was not a Jew. **
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.