The quest for answers for thousands of veterans sickened — in some cases terminally — by contaminated water at Camp Lejuene has been stymied by a federal agency that refuses to hand over key documents, attorneys from Yale Law School charged Wednesday.

The Veterans Legal Services Clinic at Yale Law School filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in federal court Wednesday against the Department of Veterans Affairs for allegedly withholding information on a group of “experts” denying claims for scores of veterans exposed to cancer-causing chemicals at the North Carolina base.

The suit, which represents two veterans groups, seeks to compel the VA to respond to a December 2015 FOIA request about the SME program — an anonymous group of “subject matter experts” who render medical opinions on the veterans exposed to toxic water at Camp Lejuene  between 1953 and 1987.

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