CHICAGO (CBS) — It may feel safer to have Osama bin Laden dead, but is that really the case?

University of Chicago political science professor Robert Pape is an expert in suicide terrorism, and he told CBS 2 Monday morning that while retaliation from al-Qaeda is a possibility, any such plans are also an opportunity to curb the terrorist organization once and for all.

“In the short term there is a risk of retaliation. The remnants of al-Qaeda may well seek to demonstrate the relevance of the group over the next six to 12 months,” Pape said, “and yes, it’s true. Attacks are possible against Americans anywhere in the world.”

But, Pape said, al-Qaeda would have to organize any large-scale attack on the spur of the moment, which would not be likely to escape the notice of the U.S. intelligence community. Thus, if al-Qaeda attempts any such action, a “major opportunity” will present itself for U.S. intelligence.

“Overall, the death of Osama bin Laden is a significant opportunity to end the War on Terror,” Pape said. “The death of the leader alone is rarely enough to cripple a major terrorist group, but if you follow it up in the right way, we have a great opportunity to cripple al-Qaeda.”

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