The government has gained a lot more power in the past couple of years and that is a very scary thought. In the next couple of years I would not be surprised if we had a president that turned America into a communist country like North Korea. Its really frightening when you think about it!
As par with 9/11, the government has increased surveillance among all of its citizens. ALthough this is in the best interest of our safety, they are gaining much unnecessary information by looking into everything everyone is doing at every second of the day. It hasn't even been proven effective because if it was, the Boston bombing would've been able to be prevented and and other minor terrorists attacks also. They should maintain an overview of al of its citizens and closely monitor those who are suspicious.
How can an average citizen know if the government has more power than necessary to maintain national security? Thwarted attacks won't make headlines, and all I can do is guess that the answer to this question is "No." The US has not experienced any major domestic attacks in the last few years.
The officials that are currently in power have been voted in through a democratic process. One of the responsibilities of these officials and our government is to protect the rights and well-being of its citizens. Although, numerous government agencies have more than likely broken international law and ethics regarding the methods used for keeping Americans safe we need to look at the fact that up to this point 11/1/13, no major attacks have happened on US soil. This is in partly due to the enhanced scope of the government agencies foiling plots to cause catastrophe here in the US. I believe that monetarily we are spending ourselves into a pit vs the amount of security received and will not be sustainable in the long run.