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Several Republicans on Thursday sharply questioned the State Department officials about why investigators apparently did not interview Mrs. Clinton or President Obama, and asked why more was not done to get military forces into Benghazi after the first wave of the attack.

“It appeared as if the incident was dying down” after the first wave, said Mr. Burns, noting the report had concluded: “The Board found no evidence of any undue delays in decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the military combatant commanders. Quite the contrary.”

But Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, said the board might have reached that conclusion because it did not question the right people.

“With due respect to Ambassador [Thomas] Pickering, the ‘Partial Accountability Review Board‘ he chaired has apparently failed to answer or even ask pertinent questions of top leadership, including and especially Secretary Clinton,” Mr. Smith said.

Meanwhile, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Thursday that the department had relieved of their duties four senior officials criticized by the report, and accepted the resignation of one of them: Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.

Mrs. Nuland declined to name the others, but administration officials identified two of them as Charlene Lamb, Mr. Boswell’s deputy who was responsible for embassy security around the world, and Raymond Maxwell, a deputy assistant secretary who oversaw the North African nations of Libya, Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco.