PRESIDENTIAL POWER: The Obama administration is weighing plans to use its executive power to press U.S. businesses to better protect critical industries from potentially crippling computer attacks.

THE SPARK: This comes after Congress failed to pass such legislation last week. A fierce lobbying effort by businesses and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stalled legislation in the Senate.

THE CONCERN: There's escalating U.S. worries about the persistent computer network probes, attacks and industrial espionage that already have stolen billions of dollars in high-tech data from U.S. companies and could eventually shut down critical water or power plants.