Harold Attinger is the main antagonist of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
He was a corrupt CIA operative and the founder of the black ops unit Cemetery Wind.
Attinger was a no-nonsense man with strict objectives and zero compassion for his enemies, even if they were innocent people. Though he sought to exterminate the Transformers, identifying both Autobots and Decepticons as a public threat towards humanity, he was willing to join forces with them if it meant to further his goal; his agenda ironically indirectly led to the presence of non-aligned Cybertronian bounty hunter Lockdown, whom Attinger had secretly formed a partnership with in a bid to achieve his purposes at the expense of anyone - including people besides Transformers - who gets in their way. Lockdown, who disregards both humanity and his own kind's civil war, appears to be similar to that of Attinger's genocidal antics. Despite his hunt for the Transformers, Attinger grew a sense of mutual respect for the bounty hunter close to friendship.
Though all this may come from his years of working in the shadows, causing him to become paranoid and fearful, especially after the battle of Chicago. Strangely, despite being ruthless and sociopathic, he was known for his calm and patient demeanor unlike Dylan Gould and Theodore Galloway. Rarely did Attinger raise his voice or overreact to a situation, instead planning it out as it unfolded.
Attinger also revealed himself as a Master Manipulator near the climax, as he revealed to Joshua that all this time, he had little to no care towards Joshua Joyce, the supremely ambitious head of KSI, upon referring him to his "golden parachute of his goal"; though it became apparent that the two were respected partners working towards the same goal in "making the world a better place", Joshua was merely a tool for Attinger and his schemes.
Despite claiming himself to be saving the world from the threat of the Transformers, a majority of the destruction and death in the film is caused by him and his organization of Cemetery Wind. Whether he sees it or not, Attinger is a hypocrite considering that he could never allow any rescue services to recover the injured when innocent people were caught in the crossfire of Galvatron's attack on the Autobots, and even allows Lockdown to level Hong Kong to find Optimus and hide his cooperation.
In reality Attinger's main goal is not necessarily to protect humanity but to wipe out the transformers for profit. By having Lockdown and Cemetary Wind slaughter transformers they come across, and then sell their remains to KSI for production into man-made transformers to sell to the US army. Attinger also has no qualms with being willing to commit high treason against the humans he seemingly wants to protect to satisfy his own greed. Attinger's unquestionable disregard for innocent lives and for those he teamed up with in a bid to complete his dastardly goals were ultimately his undoing; mere moments after receiving his fatal comeuppance, Attinger dies in vain when Optimus used Lockdown's last grenade to destroy Galvatron's remaining forces that also completely destroyed the villain's deceased body in the process.
Formation of Cemetery Wind
Following the events from Dark of the Moon, humanity has become fearful of the Transformers and the U.S. government responded by terminating all joint operations with the Autobots.
During this time, Harold Attinger was requested by his higher-ups to eliminate the Decepticons upon forming his own CIA black ops unit "Cemetery Wind". Unbeknownst to his higher-ups, however, Attinger had secretly been hunting down Autobots as well, believing that all Transformers are a public threat to humanity and personally wants to exterminate both factions regardless.
He separately appeared in both meetings with the US government and the CIA where he manipulated both organizations into viewing the Autobots as enemies. As time passes, Attinger became notified of the presence of the non-aligned Transformer bounty hunter Lockdown, who was sent by the Creators to capture Optimus Prime and kill anyone who interfered.
He soon decided to form a partnership with Lockdown as he came to realize that they both have a lot in common, and the two would go on to make a deal upon their campaigns; Attinger would assist Lockdown in hunting down Optimus Prime, whilst killing off any aligned Transformer in the process, in exchange for a Seed which Lockdown promised to give Attinger once their deal becomes successful.
Killing Ratchet and tracking Optimus Prime
On one occasion, he tracked down an Autobot named "Ratchet" and had his right-hand man named James Savoy lead his tactical squad to brutally ambush him and then allow Lockdown to finish him off after an attempt to coerce him into exposing Optimus' whereabouts. Soon afterwards, Attinger met up with Lockdown at rendezvous point where he questioned Lockdown's purpose of capturing Optimus, becoming curious of his mission. Lockdown, however, was displeased with Attinger since his black ops unit had once allowed Optimus to escape Mexico City and ended up warning him about their partnership; it turned out that Lockdown wanted Optimus to be apprehended safely since the Creators had wanted him alive for unknown reasons.
Eventually, Attinger receive word that Optimus was hiding at Cade Yeager's farm in Texas thanks to an anonymous phone call from Cade's friend Lucas. He gleefully responded by alerting Lockdown about this just before sending Savoy and his tactical unit to confront them at the farm. Cade had denied anything about Optimus' whereabouts until he inadvertently mentions his presence by saying the word "him", allowing Attinger to expose his secret and have Savoy have Cade and his daughter Tessa held at gunpoint.
After failing to coerce Cade and Tessa into exposing Optimus' whereabouts, Attinger ordered Savoy to execute Tessa in front of Cade. It was at that moment that Optimus finally revealed his presence, and ended up killing a number of Savoy's henchmen before fleeing with the Yeagers and Lucas. Attinger could only watch as Optimus escaped with the Yeagers and Tessa's boyfriend Shane whilst Lucas was killed by Lockdown's grenade.
He was not only unimpressed that Savoy and his mercenaries had failed to kill the Yeagers, fearing that their corrupt activities would be exposed to the FBI and the public, but was stoked further that even Lockdown was unsuccessful in apprehending Optimus. Attinger would later confront Savoy in their private jet after receiving a message from Cade, who warns that he'll be coming for him and is unaware that Optimus had vowed to kill the human who caused the deaths of countless Transformers upon creating Cemetery Wind.
It is soon revealed that Attinger had been collaborating with Joshua Joyce, the founder of Kinetic Solutions Incorporated, during the course of Cemetery Wind's purposes. It also turned out that all the Transformers that Attinger and Lockdown had killed were then given to Joyce as part of his plan to produce man-made Transformers, and that the Seed would actually be given to Savoy from Attinger as the result would provide several million shares in the soon-to-be-thriving KSI. This was the complex deal that would accomplish Attinger's plot against the Transformers and allow Joyce to provide the United States military with an army of man-made Transformers.
Attinger later met up with Joyce to warn him about Optimus and the Yeagers that were interfering with Cemetery Wind's purposes, which has also allowed them to investigate KSI upon learning of their alliance. Joyce was infuriated with Attinger for allowing a pair of humans and some Autobots to become aware of their alliance, and also ended up warning him that Lockdown's presence has only endangered their nefarious activities even further.
Soon afterwards, Attinger witnessed Cade infiltrating KSI headquarters during his own visit of the facilities and had Savoy's bodyguards detain him. When he entered into the room where Cade and Joyce were in, he appeared before Cade while Joyce and his bodyguards returned to their business. Meeting face-to-face, Attinger acknowledged Cade's attempts to protect his family which was admirable, but then expressed his own purpose to protect humanity by eliminating the Transformers and unsuccessfully tried to make Cade see sense.
After warning Cade about the danger he allowed himself and his family to be put in after getting involved in his operation, Attinger became unfazed and showed no remorse when Cade berated him for preparing to kill his daughter with some "hired help" from his black-ops. He dismissed Cade just before questioning him about Optimus' whereabouts. Moments later, the Autobots stormed into KSI at which point Bumblebee revealed himself before Attinger could further interrogate Cade, allowing the former to escape when Attinger had escaped from the scene.
Shortly after the Autobots' departure, Attinger declared the raid as a terrorist attack worthy of a CIA op in retaliation and demanded Joyce to respond, which he did by sending Galvatron and Stinger to hunt down the remaining Autobots and the Yeagers. Attinger watched as Joyce and his team controlled the two Transformers to pursue the Yeagers and the Autobots. In the ensuing confrontation, Galvatron unexpectedly opened fire on civilians and caused massive property damage without KSI's orders.
Despite this, Attinger showed no concern about the damage Galvatron created and confronted Joyce for sending paramedics to the injured, claiming that innocent lives were lost every day. When Galvatron caught up with Optimus, the two began fighting that was soon cut-short when Lockdown intervened after firing at Optimus. Joyce and his KSI team were shocked by Lockdown's presence, but Attinger insured them that Lockdown is his "asset" and ordered Joyce to have Galvatron retreat and allow Lockdown to personally capture Optimus.
Following this, Attinger arranged for Savoy to meet up with Lockdown in Chicago to collect the seed and settle their partnership while he warned his higher-ups to have the military stand down as there was no need for alarm; assuring them that Lockdown is his "asset" and that his presence is part of his CIA operation with Cemetery Wind.
Hong Kong and betraying Joyce
After Lockdown's departure, Attinger travelled to Hong Kong where he delivered the Seed to Joyce at his newly headquarters. Having seemingly completed their complex deal, Attinger proudly claimed that the two of them will now provide the opportunity to protect humanity without any Transformers' interference once and for all. What Attinger didn't know, however, was that Cade had been warning Joyce about Galvatron, who was actually Megatron, and his secret plan to use the Seed to destroy humanity. Because of this, Joyce had taken this into consideration and had a change of heart when he openly attempted to decline his reward. Attinger became surprised about Joyce's change of tune and reminded him the loss of countless casualties following their complex deal.
It was then that Joyce became aware that he and Attinger had a difference about their dreams to make the world a better place; with Joyce hoping to do so in creative terms whilst Attinger had formed to do the same in destructive ways. Realizing Attinger had been manipulating him all along (as well as learning of his true, monstrous personality after becoming disillusioned with his partner for his callous indifference to civilian casualties when Galvatron was unleashed), Joyce confronted him over his nefarious activities and threatened to blackmail him with all the blood on his hand. However, Attinger scathingly declared that he'd bring down Joyce with him after pinning him against the wall and telling him that he cannot back out of their deal.
Their argument is cut-short, however, when Galvatron awakens and orders his KSI droves to launch an assault to the headquarters. When Joyce became notified by this, he had Attinger and Savoy escorted out of the building. It was then that Attinger became aware of Joyce's betrayal and Galvatron's presence when he was shepherded to safety by Savoy, though not after he confronted Joyce outside of the carpark about his betrayal.
Final Confrontation and Death
The next day, Attinger was prepared to kill Joyce when he and Savoy hunted him down across Hong Kong. It was then notified to the pair that the Seed they are searching was in Joyce's possession when Galvatron arrives with his KSI army at the same request. Things become escalated when one of Lockdown's ship arrives. As Savoy questions about this in surprise, it became clear to Attinger that the Autobots were still on Earth and that Optimus had not been with Lockdown ever since he traveled to Hong Kong.
As the Autobots and Galvatron's forces began fighting, Attinger discovered that the Yeagers were also in presence and are now assisting Joyce in fleeing from Galvatron. He told Savoy to split up and kill both the Yeagers and Joyce should he encounter them, warning him that they'll expose Cemetery Wind's nefarious activities should they survive and the pair die. This was unsuccessful, and Attinger could only watch in horror upon seeing Savoy falling to his death after losing to Cade in a fist fight. Becoming vengeful, Attinger contacts Lockdown to inform him about Optimus' location in Hong Kong and tells to do whatever he wants to recapture him.
Lockdown virtually did so when he activated a deadly weapon that caused Hong Kong to suffer countless casualties, with Attinger losing what remains of his sanity in the process. Having survived the battle in Hong Kong (ending with the Autobots emerging victorious following Stinger's death and Galvatron's escape), Attinger wandered off alone and ended up locating Cade in the same area where Lockdown was fighting Optimus.
He confronted him at gunpoint shortly before Cade could help Optimus against Lockdown during their fight. Thereafter, Attinger finally loses his temper and began ranting about how it takes patience to make a man and to work in the shadows to protect all humans; proudly justifying his actions for the good of his country before snarling at Cade for siding with the Transformers over humanity. Claiming and foolishly believing that there are no good aliens or bad aliens, Attinger declares that it's just the humans and the Transformers and foolishly tells Cade that "You chose them". When he can't see for himself that Cade chose to be good.
Having said that, Attinger prepares to execute Cade when Optimus, who having witnessed this shortly after overpowering Lockdown, intervenes and ends up blasting him in the chest, finally killing Attinger instantly, and fulfilling his oath to kill the person responsible for the deaths of countless Autobots and human lives during Cemetery Wind's campaign against the Transformers.
Shortly after Attinger's death, Optimus would go on to proceed in killing Lockdown before using his last grenade to destroy all of Galvatron's remaining forces; meaning that all of Attinger's plans along with Lockdown's were all for nothing. It was then afterwards that Cemetery Wind's nefarious crimes were finally exposed resulting in the U.S. Government severing all ties with Cemetery Wind and declaring them a terrorist group. However, their legacy didn't even last long as their traditions would still be continued by the Transformers Reaction Force, a worldwide paramilitary organization with the same intent as Cemetery Wind; to destroy all Transformers regardless of faction, as the world's governments including the United States began to declare all Transformers illegal as more waves continued to arrive on Earth due to the damage in Hong Kong and Chicago. But they would ultimately switch sides and redeem themselves, helping Cade Yeager and the Autobots to stop Quintessa once and for all before being disbanded and at the end.