I don't know whether it was for diplomacy or not (it could be but only pg can answer that). But if it was done for a reason other than the stated "stealing" what's wrong with just saying "we have heavy volume today because of other sites that are down including reddit so I decided to turn off new account creation".
That's honest and avoids any chance of double speak.
Edit (based on comment below which I can't reply to):
Saying that my statement is honest is not the same as saying what was done is not honest.